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Headshot
March 12, 2024  /  224 pages  (is this book fiction or nonfiction?)
Named a Best Book of 2024 So Far by The New York Times Book Review, NPR and Vulture

“Make room, American fiction, for a meaningful new voice.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times Book Review

“As blazing and distinctive a performance as I’ve beheld in a long while . . . I’m amazed.” —Jonathan Lethem, author of Brooklyn Crime Novel and Motherless Brooklyn

An electrifying debut novel from an “unusually gifted writer” (Lorrie Moore) about the radical intimacy of physical competition


An unexpected tragedy at a community pool. A family’s unrelenting expectation of victory. The desire to gain or lose control; to make time speed up or stop; to be frighteningly, undeniably good at something. Each of the eight teenage girl boxers in this blistering debut novel has her own reasons for the sacrifices she has made to come to Reno, Nevada, to compete to be named the best in the country. Through a series of face-offs that are raw, ecstatic, and punctuated by flashes of humor and tenderness, prizewinning writer Rita Bullwinkel animates the competitors’ pasts and futures as they summon the emotion, imagination, and force of will required to win.

Frenetic, surprising, and strikingly original, Headshot is a portrait of the desire, envy, perfectionism, madness, and sheer physical pleasure that motivate young women to fight—even, and perhaps especially, when no one else is watching.
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