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Literary & General


Jonathan Starke


Black Heron



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Jonathan Starke is a former bodybuilder, boxer, and nomadic traveler who has ventured through sixty countries. His stories and essays have been published in a number of magazines and literary journals, includingThe Sun, Missouri Review, Threepenny Review, North American Review, Gettysburg Review, Brevity, Greensboro Review, and others. He is the founder of Palooka, an international literary magazine. You've Got Something Coming is his first novel.





Starke’s knockout punch of a debut follows the adventures of an aging down-on-his-luck boxer and his deaf, motherless daughter. While suffering the aftereffects of his latest bout, Trucks breaks Claudia out of a children’s home in Wisconsin and heads west with her in search of a better life for both of them, vowing to his daughter that he’ll stay out of the ring. Father and daughter hitch their way across Minnesota, South Dakota, and Montana, encountering helpful people along the way, among them June, a kindly woman whose husband has just left her because she is barren, and Gerald, a widowed Montana farmer who gives them a temporary home. But as Trucks tries to bond with his daughter and make the best life for her he can, fate and his inner demons conspire against them, and, in the end, a desperate, short-sighted Trucks returns to the ring for a low-paying match, risking his health for one last attempt to support Claudia.


"Trucks’s relationship with his daughter is the emotionally fraught core of this tough and tender novel. Taking punishment both in and out of the ring, Trucks will remind readers of Hemingway’s punch-drunk “The Battler,” as well as the broken dreamers of F.X. Toole’s Rope Burns and Leonard Gardner’s Fat City. Starke’s bruising, brooding book is a real heartbreaker." —Publishers Weekly, Reviewed February 5, 2020 “This bittersweet social novel concerns Trucks’s guilt about his failings and Claudia’s eroding innocence. As Trucks and Claudia cross through South Dakota and into Montana, strangers help them, including June, who lets them stay at her hotel, and Gerald, a perceptive widower who reserves judgment. Poetic vignettes, punctuated by clear images, examine how Trucks’s mistrust of people...


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