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Book Review: 'Rope Burns'

Posted on

Rope Burns

Current Status:
In Season
F.X. Toole
Fiction, Short Stories

We gave it an A

Working the corner of boxing matches, a cut man’s sole job is to stop his fighter’s bleeding: ”I stop the blood and save the fight, the boy loves me more than he loves his daddy.” Rope Burns, F.X. Toole’s magnificent debut collection of short stories, focuses on the boxing community — cut men, trainers, promoters, fighters, and the families who sit ringside. Toole, a cut man and trainer for the past 20 years, is an unpretentious writer whose words practically sweat off the pages. In the title story, the Rodney King riots sweep up an Olympic-bound boxer and his white trainer; in ”Million $$$ Baby,” a weathered trainer reluctantly takes on a young girl with championship dreams. You may feel you’ve gone a couple of rounds yourself after this emotional wallop of a read. A