Antonia Logue's first novel is already being acclaimed around the world as one of the year's most auspicious debuts, a work of rich and complex flavor and dazzling imagination that establishes her as an outstanding new writer. It is a sweeping story of love and friendship centered around the mysterious Arthur Cravan -- semiprofessional boxer, surrealist manque, influential art critic, legendary bon vivant, nephew of Oscar Wilde.In 1908 Jack Johnson was crowned the first black heavyweight champion of the world -- to the great chagrin of the American public, scandalized by his fast cars, debauchery, taste for white women, and the fact that he couldn't be beaten. Forced to flee to Europe to escape being jailed on trumped-up charges, he met Cravan, and together they dreamed up a brilliant scam to get Cravan to New York: they staged a fight to pay for his passage. Soon Cravan was shocking the arts patrons of New York society with a futurist manifesto-cum-drunken rant that landed him in jail -- his antics egged on by friends such as Marcel Duchamp and William Carlos Williams. But Cravan's time in New York also gave rise to a passionate love affair with the celebrated modernist poet Mina Loy. Theirs was a great love, interrupted by a great war. They had an idyllic wedding in Mexico, and then Cravan -- fleeing conscription into the army -- sailed into a hurricane and was presumed dead.From this remarkable story, Antonia Logue has fashioned a truly extraordinary novel. Letters between Jack and Mina beginning in 1946 sketch this expansive tale of love, art, and boxing, ranging across the United States and Europe in the era of tremendous social, artistic, and political upheaval before andduring World War II. Told with a powerful voice, warm humor, and a vigorous historical imagination that recalls Penelope, Lively and Rose Tremain, Shadow-Box is a novel that you will not soon forget.
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Published August 1, 1999
by Grove Pr.
History, Literature & Fiction.