Imagine everything you’d expect from a book about mixed martial arts, about men fighting in a cage. Now forget all that. This strange and dazzling work of literary fiction is all surprises. Bored with the intellectual chatter of her academic conference, philosophy student Kit accidentally stumbles into Iowa’s Midwest Cage Championship. Watching two men grapple in the octagon, sweat and blood mixing, Kit comes alive.
Converted, she seeks out two fighters to follow, hoping to study the brilliant, authentic experience surrounding MMA fighting. Here’s the twist: While Kit is a fictional character, the two fighters she embeds with in the book, Sean and Erik, are very real. Sean, experienced and laid-back, seems to absorb injuries like calories. Sean’s opposite is chatterbox Erik, whose potential awaits him beyond his nest of Des Moines.
The story takes fictional Kit, an intellectual extremist, to peer at these men through an unexpected lens. She views MMA fighting with grace. She sees it as an ecstatic ritual. Through her, we see Erik and Sean as vulnerable humans, as obsessives, as spiritualists. Howley proves her ability as an author, writing in unapologetically verbose prose. Thrown is experimental, refreshing, and exhaustively smart, but still compulsively consumable.
Sarabande Books, Inc.