Desperation, darkness and helplessness has been captured with a starkness that is as pervasive as it is intimate in the encapsulation of the very essence of anguish worn almost as a cloak, by those who are the unwanted, the unloved, as they try to survive just another day, just another hour in their tortured existence.
Such is the life of washed up bare knuckle fighter Jack Boucher as he tries desperately to find some salvation in his life. He is at an all-time low, which for him is saying something, as he once again drives endlessly through the night surviving on little red pills for the pain, Jack Daniels as the drink of choice and the mind destroying litany of bad choices to keep him company.
He has once again blown whatever headway he had made towards trying to regain something of his youth, falling victim to instant money through gambling on the pokies, but this time he has the Queen of Delta Vice, Big Momma Sweet, hard on his heels.
His backstory is one of neglect, foster homes, changes and unhappiness until the one woman who truly loved him, his step mother Maryann, took him and cherished him. Her mind has been slowly destroyed by dementia and his is none too great as the result of endless bouts of concussion. Jack has been reduced to keeping names of friend and foe in a little notebook, the legacy Maryann had entrusted to him, all but gone, lost forever.
Jack has been given one last chance to clear the debt, wipe the slate clean and begin again, but can he managed to hold it together long enough or will his past return to destroy all he is trying to achieve.
In The Fighter, Michael Farris Smith has painted a portrait of, interestingly enough, hope and salvation in this starkly challenging work looking at the very dark and destructive side of life so seldom portrayed.
An interesting and confrontational read which is as disturbing as it is brilliant.
|Author||Michael Farris Smith|
|Publisher||No Exit Press|
|Distributor||New South Books|