Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

Rope Burns
F X Toole


Rope Burns is a collection of short stories and a novella. “Ring magic is different from the magic of the theatre,’ writes Toole, “because the curtain never comes down – because the blood in the ring is real blood, and the broken noses and the broken hearts are real, and sometimes they are broken forever. Boxing is the magic of men in combat, the magic of will, and skill, and pain, and the risking of everything so you can respect yourself for the rest of your life.” The hermetic world of boxing is notoriously difficult for outsiders to understand, though it has provided a source of fascination to numerous writers, including Norman Mailer, A.J. Liebling, Joyce Carol Oates and Ernest Hemingway. F. X. Toole is a dazzling new writer with a fresh and original voice, who has been a boxing professional for over twenty-five years.

Paperback, 256pp
Vintage, 2001 (2000)
ISBN 9780099285274


F. X. Toole was a professional boxing trainer and cut man who lived in Los Angeles. He died in 2002.

“It is visceral and violent; written in a rhythmic street language that, in the great American tradition, manages to be both uncompromising and elegiac” – The Guardian