Don’t Skip Out on Me by Vlautin
From award-winning author Willy Vlautin comes a powerful exploration of identity and loneliness pulled from deep within America’s soul.
“Vlautin writes with patience, tenderness, and a sharp eye toward the subtle things that can wear a person down—the fights we don’t know we’re losing until it’s already too late.”—Los Angeles Review of Books
Horace Hopper has spent most of his life on a Nevada sheep ranch but dreams of something bigger. Mr. and Mrs. Reese, the aging ranchers, took him in and treated him like a son, intending to leave the ranch in his hands. However, Horace, ashamed of his half Paiute, half Irish heritage and that his parents did not want him, feels as if he doesn’t belong there, or anywhere. Realizing he needs to make a name for himself, he decides to leave the only loving home he’s known to prove his worth as a championship boxer.
Mr. Reese is holding on to a way of life that is no longer sustainable. He’s a seventy-two-year-old rancher with a bad back. He’s not sure how he’ll keep things going without Horace, but he understands the boy must find his own way.
To become a champion, Horace must not only change the way he eats, trains, and thinks but also who he is. Reinventing himself as Hector Hildago, a scrappy Mexican boxer, he heads to Tucson and begins training and entering fights. His journey brings him to boxing rings across the Southwest and Mexico, and finally to the streets of Las Vegas, where Horace learns he can’t change who he is or outrun his destiny.