A Natural

by Ross Raisin

This is a book which handles the complexities of very different characters with great compassion. Following Tom, finding his feet in the lower leagues of professional football whilst wrestling with his own sexuality, you'll find yourself drawn to this story, which is told over the course of a year, complete with all the high, lows and the mundane. More than a football novel, it's a highly rewarding story about characters.


'Glory days,' Liam said, moving over to a shelf from which he picked up a wooden box. Inside it, heaps of of assorted tines glinted in the dark of the divided sections. The cords of his neck showed as he lifted the box and carried it over to the aerator mounted on the front of the tractor. 'Never stood a chance, did I? Keepers never get taken on.' He released the tines from the aerator and knelt to the floor to collect them. There was a heavy metallic clatter with each handful that he dropped into the box. One of the tines had rolled underneath a stand of rubber rakes. Tom moved to pick it up. It had the weight and shape of a bullet. He walked over to Liam, still on the floor, and stood over him. A fine trail of gingery hairs ran along the back of his neck. Tom handed him the tine.


This Sporting Life by David Storey
Brokeback Mountain (short story) by Annie Proulx

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