cover image You’ve Got Something Coming

You’ve Got Something Coming

Jonathan Starke. Black Heron, $16 trade paper (290p) ISBN 978-1-936364-32-9

Starke’s knockout punch of a debut follows the adventures of an aging, down-on-his-luck boxer and his deaf, motherless daughter. While suffering the aftereffects of his latest bout, Trucks breaks Claudia out of a children’s home in Wisconsin and heads west with her in search of a better life for both of them, vowing to his daughter that he’ll stay out of the ring. Father and daughter hitch their way across Minnesota, South Dakota, and Montana, encountering helpful people along the way, among them June, a kindly woman whose husband has just left her because she is barren, and Gerald, a widowed Montana farmer who gives them a temporary home. But as Trucks tries to bond with his daughter and make the best life for her he can, fate and his inner demons conspire against them, and, in the end, a desperate, short-sighted Trucks returns to the ring for a low-paying match, risking his health for one last attempt to support Claudia. Trucks’s relationship with his daughter is the emotionally fraught core of this tough and tender novel. Taking punishment both in and out of the ring, Trucks will remind readers of Hemingway’s punch-drunk “The Battler,” as well as the broken dreamers of F.X. Toole’s Rope Burns and Leonard Gardner’s Fat City. Starke’s bruising, brooding book is a real heartbreaker. (Apr.)