The Barfighter

The Barfighter

  • $28.00

Quick Overview :

By Ivan G. Goldman

ISBN 9781579621827

When he was an army boxer fighting to stay out of Vietnam, Lee Cheskis obeyed a brutal reflex, and only years later does he learn the tragic consequences. Staggered by regret, he throws himself off a career ladder at the New York Times to express his rage in bar fights against other troubled souls. Ultimately Cheskis seeks redemption guiding the career of L.A. gang member and promising heavy weight Marvin "Quick" O'Brien. The Barfighter takes the reader on an often whimsical journey deep inside the heart of boxing, which can turn from sweet to savage with the snap of a punch, and where a sport that's not a game becomes an existential microcosm of the world around it. The story takes the reader from Folsom Prison to the fight capital, Las Vegas, stopping in diverse locales that include the now-shuttered infantry post of Fort Ord, California, Ken Kesey's hot tub, the L.A. County Jail, and the Cafe de la Paix in Paris.

Ivan G. Goldman's 5th & most recent novel The Debtor Class (Permanent Press; 2015) is 'howlingly funny,' says the Booklist starred review, which asserts it could become a 'cult classic.' Publishers Weekly calls it 'gripping ... a sobering and triumphant read.' Goldman's writing has appeared in Columbia Journalism Review, Utne Reader, The Nation, National Review, Rolling Stone, The Ring, The New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times and elsewhere. A Fulbright Scholar, he's worked as a Washington Post writer and Los Angeles Times editor.

His previous novel Isaac: A Modern Fable (Permanent Press, 2012) also received a starred review in Booklist: "Any story with characters so real that we wish we could reach into the book and give them a hug demands to be read." Publishers Weekly: "Goldman's snappy dialogue and light touch make this sendup of West Coast superficiality, East Coast academia, and the Old Testament an entertaining read full of weighty, nuanced questions about faith, fate, and what makes life precious, even after four millennia."

His novel The Barfighter (Permanent Press, 2009) was nominated as a 2009 Notable Book by the American Library Association. BookList: "a fine book" that "illuminates a largely unknown world and tells an engaging tale of redemption filled with vividly drawn characters. The Barfighter is wryly funny, insightful, and warmly human."

Kirkus Reviews: "Entertaining and acutely observed -- and the boxing milieu and mindset are utterly persuasive. A winner."

Kirkus Reviews called his first novel, Where the Money Is: A Novel of Las Vegas (Barricade; 1995) "an impressive debut . . . a stylish twisty first novel."

Goldman's non-fiction title L.A. Secret Police, co-authored with ex-detective Mike Rothmiller, was a New York Times best-seller.

You can find out more about Goldman's background in his article "Caste and Class on The Washington Post" It appeared in Columbia Journalism Review and is online at

Contact the author at

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