Seconds Out


Seconds Out
Martín Kohan, translated
by Nick Caistor
2010, Serpent’s Tail
249 pages

THIS is a knockout read which establishes Kohan’s debut in English with a left hook that the reader will feel the effects of long after putting down the book. That’s appropriate, because Seconds Out – divided into 17 chapters, each representing a second in the life of American boxer Jack Dempsey as he staggers to get up after being knocked out of the ring, literally, by his Argentine opponent Luis Angel Firpo – is a meditation on memory and national identity. It is a complex read that belies the boxing milieu yet takes all of its dangerous risks as the writer ducks and dives between New York and Buenos Aires. In his translation, Nick Caistor has captured all the originality and audacity of this writer, who explores with verve the way victory and glory can slip so easily from grasp. – GJ

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