• After the Lights Go Out

  • By: John Vercher
  • Narrated by: Sean Crisden
  • Length: 7 hrs and 29 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (24 ratings)

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After the Lights Go Out  By  cover art

After the Lights Go Out

By: John Vercher
Narrated by: Sean Crisden
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Publisher's Summary

Xavier "Scarecrow" Wallace, a mixed-race MMA fighter on the wrong side of thirty, is facing the fight of his life. Xavier can no longer deny he is losing his battle with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), or pugilistic dementia. Through the fog of memory loss, migraines, and paranoia, Xavier does his best to stay in shape by training at the Philadelphia gym owned by his cousin-cum-manager, Shot, a retired champion boxer to whom Xavier owes an unpayable debt.

Xavier makes ends meet while he waits for the call that will reinstate him after a year-long suspension by teaching youth classes at Shot's gym and by living rent-free in the house of his white father, whom Xavier was forced to commit to a nursing home. The progress of Sam Wallace's end-stage Alzheimer's has revealed his latent racism, and Xavier finally gains insight into why his Black mother left the family years ago.

Then Xavier is offered a chance at redemption: a last-minute high-profile comeback fight. If he can get himself back in the game, he'll be able to clear his name and begin to pay off Shot. With his memory in shreds and his life crumbling around him, can Xavier hold on to the focus he needs to survive?

©2022 John Vercher (P)2022 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about After the Lights Go Out

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  • Overall
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Amazing!!!!

I heard the authors interview on NPR and had to read this book. Loved every moment of this story from the narration to the story arc.

1 person found this helpful

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Tragic novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Will become a classic. I could not put it down. Remarkable insight, complex characters. I sobbed throughout. Well edited, passionate new voice about family, race, and love. As a martial artist, I can tell you the fight scenes were stunning, realistic, brutal and true. This is one story not to be missed. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Incredible writing, narration & story.

This will go down as one of my favorite books of all time. Dementia, loneliness, Race & racism, family, dogs, MMA.

1 person found this helpful

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Masterpiece!

Gripping and amazing story. Couldn’t put it down. The toll of a fighting career on display in a moving story about race, family, and the end of life.

1 person found this helpful

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Listened for book club

This book was recommended by a book club I just joined. The narration is excellent!
The ending left me shook.
I was also really bummed out when I got to work and had to wait eight hours to find out what happened in the second and third rounds of the fight!

If you are thinking this might not be for you because you aren’t into martial arts/fighting/race relations/ etc - just give it a chance. The story is for everyone.

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Relevant, Compelling and Necessarily Painful

I didn’t know much at all about CTE and am both intrigued and horrified by it. The story gripped me and the layers of complexity around race made this book even more relevant and compelling. I couldn’t stop listening, though it often hurt. I was captivated. I am so grateful John Vercher chose to tackle these subjects.