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Pugilist At Rest Thom Jones

Pugilist At Rest

Thom Jones

Published
ISBN : 9780571171347
Hardcover
230 pages
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 About the Book 

Thom Joness first collection of stories is a revelation. In prose that sounds like nobody else, Jones channels a variety of distinctively different voices, from the lustful book editor of Unchain My Heart to the epileptic, amnesiac adman of theMoreThom Joness first collection of stories is a revelation. In prose that sounds like nobody else, Jones channels a variety of distinctively different voices, from the lustful book editor of Unchain My Heart to the epileptic, amnesiac adman of the Dostoevskian fable A White Horse. Theres not a miss among these tales, but two in particular stand out: the title story, about a boxer and Vietnam vet who has plumbed the vicious depths of his own soul, and the almost unbearably intense chronicle of a woman fighting a losing battle with cancer, I Want to Live! The world is replete with badness, says the aging fighter of A Pugilist at Rest- yet, as the narrator of I Want to Live! discovers, there is nothing stronger than the human will to go on, to persist--even in the face of the hell that exists right here on earth. Its not all gloom, doom, and napalm, however. Theres also the surreal, Gogol-esque humor of The Black Lights, in which the pysch-ward protagonist insists his only problem is epilepsy, yet hallucinates a giant, shuddering rabbit caught under his bed at night (Its that rabbit on the Brer Rabbit molasses jar. That rabbit with buckles on his shoes! Bow tie. Yaller teeth! Yaller! Yaller!) Then, too, Jones creates images of startling, surreal clarity amid the horror, like the dying lieutenant who remains on one knee even after being shot, his remaining arm extended out to the enemy, palm upward in the soulful, heartrending gesture of Al Jolson doing a rendition of Mammy. Take a decidedly grim world-view, add a dose of existential slapstick, some Schopenhauer, an encyclopedic knowledge of pharmaceuticals, and a soundtrack by the Doors, and you have what may be the darkest, funniest, most urgent fictional debut in years. --Mary Park