Finishing Skills


Sarah K. Inman

"Finishing Skills is, among other things,  the first great novel about New Orleans published since that city's 2005 drowning; its wry, crackling voice captures the rhythm of life in a time and place that now seem very distant.  It's also the debut of a truly great American novelist. Sarah Inman's erotic, tough voice tells the story of a

young woman learning to fight, not only for a boxing title, but for her life.  Wise, elegiac, and funny."

      --Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She's Not There. 


ISBN: 978-1-931982-58-0 trade paper $14.95                    Sale $7.50

ISBN: 978-1-931982-57-3 library binding $26                      Sale $13.00

232 Pages

About the Author: 

Sarah Inman fought professionally for a brief period. She lives in New Orleans with her husband Joe Longo and their cats, Binx Bolling and Moll Flanders. Sarah was  born in Rhode Island and received her B.A. from Colby College and her M.A. from New York University. Her fiction has appeared in the following publications: Fell Swoop, The Melic Review, Ellipsis, The Washington Square Review, The Rogue, and Cups, the Café Culture Magazine. She is the fiction editor and co-founder of Rive Gauche magazine. Finishing Skills is her first novel.  

 Excerpt from the Book:

     Backstage, Watson smeared my face with petroleum jelly that we’d borrowed from another fighter. Our jar of Vaseline and our corner’s bucket were missing. Where the fuck were they? It was karma for what Jenna, the other pro female from the Academy, did last week; sly, she walked out of Boomtown Casino with a pair of eight-ounce gloves used in one of the bouts. They weren’t even good for sparring, so Jenna gave them to one of the newcomers to work the heavy bags. Jenna’s habit of stealing useless crap filled our gym with odd-sized gloves, cracked mirrors, and a scale that was off by two pounds.
Watson had sent Darnel, one of the gym rats, to find our stuff or to borrow what we were missing, Vaseline, gauze, tape, ice; I’d packed my own mouthpiece.
          “How did Jenna make out?” I didn’t want to ask because I sensed that she’d lost, but I needed to break the silence. Jenna had fought early on the card, and I had been too nervous to poke my head into the crowd at the Pontchartrain Center to watch her. I was making my pro debut at a memorial event fund-raiser, held for two New Orleans police officers who had died in a freak New Year’s Eve explosion.
          “She had a good fight,” Watson said. His thick moustache perched above his upper lip, like a small animal. I had the sense the thing could sprout little legs and run off on its own. Watson spoke evenly, the essence of calm.
         “What’s that mean?” I asked.
         “She lost a split decision.”
         “She got robbed,” Darnel put in.
         “A split decision to Sue Eckelston? Sue’s oh and fourteen,” I said.