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Boxer Handsome by Anna Whitwham

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

This book opens with a fight scene so brilliant and bloody and violent that you can’t help but be catapulted into the book. Connor and Bobby are fighting over Theresa on a canal side in East London. It is bare knuckle and dirty and the irony is that in exactly a week they’re meant to be boxing in a proper match against each other. They grew up together but from very different families and both look to boxing as a way out of their lives. Exploring East London’s boxing tradition and giving a very different view of the communities from the usual media depictions this is a hard hitting and fascinating peek into their world.

If you like Anna Whitwham you might also like to read books by Hannah Kent, Evie Wyld and Zoe Pilger.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


Boxer Handsome by Anna Whitwham

Boxing runs in Bobby's blood. His Irish dad was a boxer. So was his Jewish grandfather. Yanked up by their collars at Clapton Bow Boys Club and taught how to box and stay out of trouble. So Bobby knows he shouldn't be messing in street brawls a week before his big fight with Connor 'the Gypsy Boy', an Irish traveller from around the way. They're fighting over Theresa: a traveller girl with Connor's name all over her. But Bobby's handsome, like his dad; boxer handsome. Set against the backdrop of contemporary East-End London, Boxer Handsome is an unsung hymn to tribal boxing history and to an angry and austere Britain, a community up against itself, 'all fighting a corner; all fighting for space. All up for a fight.' For Bobby, the ring is everywhere and he can't afford to lose.

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A tremendous debut -- lean but capacious, elegant but tough, tempered but resonant. It marks the arrival of an important new talent. -- Andrew Motion Anna Whitwham's own East Side Story, set between two rival families in Clapton, is a vivid evocation of the worlds of old and new London, of the tribal immigrant experience built between boxing gym, tenement and canal bank. By turns brutal and beautiful, tender and dangerous, Boxer Handsome is a visceral and luminous debut. Cathi Unsworth, author of Weirdo Boxer Handsome is a story told in hope's shadow, where life, organised and disorganised, scars. This is a compelling novel - brutal, tender and true. Joe Stretch, author of Friction and The Adult

About the Author

Anna Whitwham was born in 1981 in London, where she still lives. She studied Drama and English at the University of California, Los Angeles, Queens University Belfast and at Royal Holloway, London. Boxer Handsome is her first novel. It is a world Anna knows well: her grandfather, John Poppy, was a young featherweight boxer at Crown & Manor Boys Club in Hoxton. He is the inspiration behind this book.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999


Anna Whitwham

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