Shadow-Box is her first novel
Antonia Logue was born in Co Derry in 1972. Working as a journalist in 1996 and still only 23 years old, she submitted a chapter and brief outline of a novel to the publishers AP Watt Ltd and was immediately given a substantial advance.
Shadow-Box was published in 1998 to great critical acclaim: it won the 1999 Irish Times Literature Award for an Irish Novel, and Logue was named one of The Observer’s top 21 writers for the twenty-first century.
The book is set in the first two decades of the twentieth century and spans America and Europe. Amid the great upheavals of early modernism, three historical figures meet and change each others' lives: Mina Loy, avantgarde painter and poet, Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight champion of the world, and Arthur Cravan, poet, boxer and art critic.
Logue became interested in Loy and Cravan after reading Paul Muldoon’s poem Yarrow.
The writer currently lives in Chicago.
The following extract from Shadow-Box is reproduced by permission of AP Watt on behalf of Antonia Logue:
‘He came in the second the bell went and clinched me in a tight hug, hunched into me trying to battle with my solar plexus from up close, like a man trying to light a match in a gale. I came in hard on his side with my left and then blew him off me with a right uppercut to his jaw.
'He tumbled back, and I heard Corbett bleating 'Kill the coon' in my left ear as I followed Jeffries across the ring, held him steady at the shoulder at my right hand and belted three sharp blows to his face and then swung him away, a door on a hinge, with a flying uppercut under the chin.
'He tottered, eyes closed, and I went gentler knowing how close he was to being floored and wanting to drag it out, brand this humiliation into the memories of every sorry evil little bastard out there in the crowd, in that town, in this great country of ours, who had hollered and whooped about the nigger getting killed, the coon being taught how to eat shit the American way. Well, this was the American way and it was my way and Jim Jeffries would eat it for them, for every last one of them.’