Going Fast


  • Going Fast is tender and tough-minded, compassionate and dark. It is also exceptionally well-written and frequently hilarious. Elaine McCluskey has written a stunning debut novel.”

Paul Quarrington

Here is a link to the PEI Sports Hall of Fame page which talks about the McCluskey family’s involvement in boxing.

PEI Sports Hall of Fame

Reviews of Going Fast

  • McCluskey has found pure gold among the blue-collar streets of Old Halifax. Her gift as a writer is the ability to take the familiar, the tragic and the sometimes mundane and, through keen, insightful and often comedic observation and interpretation, raise it to the level of poetic art.

Stephen Thorne, The Canadian Press

  • With its demimonde characters, odd nicknames and boxing and newsroom settings, Going Fast reads at times like Nova Scotia Damon Runyon. But a melancholy Runyon. It’s also compulsively readable and packed with hilarious wordplay. There’s also some lovely characterization through dialogue, such as this meditation from a secondary character, a not-very-ambitious boxer and would-be singer named Johnny LeBlanc: “If I’m in a city with subways, I feel like I’m going somewhere. And Italians. I like a place big enough to have Italians.”

Bob Armstrong, Winnipeg Free Press

  • McCluskey is a vigorous, colourful and often humorous writer, with a sharp and sometimes wicked eye. . . The writing is lively, like good gossip at a journalists’ watering hole or a fighters’ hangout.  She knows her territory well.

D.R. MacDonald, The Globe and Mail

  • The cast of characters, the flavour of the language and the downright improbability of a standard day in boxing make for colourful and very funny reading. There are a lot of bit players in Going Fast, occasionally clad in spandex. McCluskey pays careful attention to each of them, and their quirks and foibles allow their personalities to shine. Slugger, 84, walks with the “nimble, hot-footed step of a log-roller” and still swims a mile every day, “with flip turns.” That is, until the complaint of a group of old ladies causes him serious consternation and he has to make things right. As he tells his story to Ownie, he “wiped his mouth as though he was wiping away the last traces of shame.” This is a tiny, exquisite, heart-melting vignette.

Judith Meyrick, The Halifax Chronicle-Herald

  • Goose Lane has produced another winner. This is a book for tough times, – one that makes us nod with satisfaction, laugh with relief and feel we should greet each day with joy. Here prose, – especially dialogue, – is as tight as poetry. Going Fast is a superb study of motivation, of what makes people alive. Its subject is control: who has it, who doesn’’t and why. It’’s also about betrayal, forgiveness, courage, loyalty, hard work, self-respect, and profound friendship.

Diane Reid, The Fredericton Daily Gleaner

  • Elaine McCluskey leads the reader through a series of fundamental reflects on life and on relationships without making these too heavy or too hard to digest. In fact the reader may be too busy laughing his head off and nodding in agreement to stop at the thought that he may have a few regrets and disappointments too. Under McCluskey’s pen, the news world and the boxing world come together beautifully in a touching and funny novel about ambition, pride, nostalgia and popular culture. Definitely worth reading.

Julie Leroux, The Maple Tree Literary Supplement

From the author

The photos on this page are my father: As a boxer. As a trainer taping the hands of Dicky Howard. As a trainer holding the heavy bag for Trevor Berbick who once defeated the legendary Muhammad Ali and was later  murdered by his nephew in Jamaica.