"High school football mixes with Faust in this blitz of a novel from Watson . . . a big Dennis Lehane-like story of society, opportunity, and consequences, revealing Watson as an accomplished storyteller."-- Publishers Weekly , Starred Review"Honor, loyalty, even life and death form the core of this wrenching story."-- Kirkus Reviews , Starred Review"Watson's visceral desc"High school football mixes with Faust in this blitz of a novel from Watson . . . a big Dennis Lehane-like story of society, opportunity, and consequences, revealing Watson as an accomplished storyteller."--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review"Honor, loyalty, even life and death form the core of this wrenching story."--Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review"Watson's visceral descriptions of the physicality of sport are more than matched by his knowing depiction of small-town corruption in this fast-paced coming-of-age story."--Booklist"A sleeper that sneaks up on you. Pitch it to old school readers who appreciate intelligent and hard-hitting novels that are more than sports books."--Library Journal"Fighting in the Shade is less a sports novel than a coming-of-age story wound around a mystery, with football as symbol and symptom."--St. Petersburg Times"A brilliant, fearless look at the savage rites of passage that exist in the fraternity of American sports. A book as gripping and unforgettable as any in recent memory."--Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic RiverIn 1964, seventeen-year-old Billy Dyer is a newcomer to Oleander, a Gulf Coast Florida town whose old guard define football as the ancient Spartans did their Agoge. It is a mode of brutal tutelage that forges the hearts and minds of the town's elite youth for a future of power. Billy's parents are recently divorced and he lives in a bad neighborhood with his secretive, alcoholic father.Through the brutal and fiery days of summer practice, Billy fights for a starting spot on the team, the Spartans. He makes the team, but in a horrific hazing scene far from the town, he rebels and in the process badly injures his rival for the flanker position. The events that follow force Billy into exile from football, then later back into the game when powerful men realize that the Spartans cannot win without him....
|Title||:||Fighting in the Shade|
|Number of Pages||:||330 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Fighting in the Shade Reviews
a fairly convincing, if slow building, bidungsromans centered around florida high school football and taking a moral stand against the so-called moral adults who run things. the bankers, preachers, butchers and coke execs who "run the town", who are "boosters", who wouldn't think twice about lying cheating and stealing to "win". then along comes a kickass player who questions this. tension ensues. a weird one for akashic in that it's not urban, not much cussing, drugs, or crime, but perhaps a sign that they are striking out into territory off the island?
This book features a hazing incident on a high school football team, and handles the story with maturity and responsibility, showing the impact that hazing can have on an individual as well as a group, how these long-standing "traditions" continue of their own momentum, and what can happen when one person refuses to go along with the way things have "always been done."
I'm not a big football fan, but Sterling Watson connects the innitiation rights of football with a much more ancient tradition that transcends the game. He tells a painful story, which seems extermely relevant to the Penn state and hazing scandals-- the dark side of popular culture and a national pastime. Superbly written. Watson has deep insight and knows a thing or two about writing.
I reviewed this thriller for Kirkus.
I'm a huge fan of gritty sports fiction--think John L. Parker's Once a Runner or Dan Middleman's Pain, to name just a couple--but Fighting in the Shade proved a disappointment. It began promisingly, with that good old hook we're meant to expect from just about every work of fiction, but it descended into a morass of truly terrible dialogue and stock characters drawn without compelling nuance. I couldn't bring myself to care about the milquetoast protagonist, whatever his purported football talent. I'm also so, so tired of books that wind in a pretentious literary-references subplot. Don't make your allusions so labored. Work them in naturally or they don't belong there at all. Honestly, I'd have kept reading for the football, but what really got me was how godawful the dialogue is. Everyone talks like they're in a bad Victorian novel. Watson definitely has an eye for describing physicality, but boy does he have a tin ear for dialogue. I'm also really tired of trite morality tales about Good Men versus Bad Men.
Actual Rating: 3.5 starsConsidering this was another book I had to read for my independent study I was unsure of what to think, especially considering this book revolves around a small town and football. To me, it is never a good mix because for one, I dislike the game of football. I like all other sports equally, but I am not a fan of football. Anyways, I had to get over that part of the book pretty quickly so I could finish this book.I read the book mostly due to the political nature of small town, men who control a large majority of the political aspects of the town, and a young man who defies them in order for things to start to change. It was a fairly interesting read, and although some of the descriptions are fairly visceral surrounding the "mystery night" and it was a bit hard to take at first I got through it fine. The one part of the book that I really enjoyed was how Mrs. English and Moira played a pivotal role. I quite liked the two of them.Other than that, it was a very different book for me to read considering I wouldn't normally read a book like this. I liked the descriptions and a sense of place this book has, but it is to be expected by a Floridian writer (who also happens to be a professor at the school I attend). As a side note, I find it fairly humorous that they think this book is "Dennis Lehane" like seeing as he also went to the same school as the professor who wrote this book. (and no, I have not met Dennis Lehane even though he is doing a writer's workshop at the school currently. I'm off campus.)
There are few storytellers in the modern literary world who have the ability to capture the reader with realistic characterizations and thrilling narrative, but from the minute Watson draws you into the cruel, heartless, world of Oleander football, you realize your attention is in the hands of a master wordsmith who doesn’t just tell you the 1964 tale, he takes you there. Billy Dyer is a talented athlete, new to Oleander, who refuses to endure a ritual hazing that goes by the enigmatic name of Mystery Night. Ironically the fight that ensues gives him the opportunity to showcase his football talents and achieve the local stardom that young men dream about in the glare of those Friday Night Lights across America. But he pays the devil’s price. Though the setting is the 60s, the story could easily be a contemporary tale of power, money, hazing, the abuse of talent, and the corruption of youth. Fighting in the Shade is a wonderful coming of age story and a lesson the length of a lifetime.
Small town politics & athletics to the extreme! A constant struggle between good and evil, and what that even means. I wonder what Billy Dyer's senior year will be like?
A most gripping tale of football, hidden rituals, and politics in rural America.
Motivated to download the book after hearing the author speak at the Miami Book Fair International in 2011. More of a guy's book, I think, and a bit overly ambitious in uneven literary attempts.