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Cold Snap: Stories

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. Thom Jones may be one of the few authors whose acknowledgments thank not only his dog, wife, and agent, but also Wyeth/Ayerst Laboratories and Stuart Pharmaceuticals, manufacturers of Effexor and...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Probably the best short story writer out there today

I came across this book first and then moved back to 'Pugilist at Rest,' which many people cite as the better book. This one is at least as good, and may be slightly better. Great short stories are harder to write than novels, and that is why there are so few noteworthy books out there today. But Jones is fantastic and in complete control of his work. If there were more writers like this, I would probably stop reading overdrawn novels completely and only read short stories. I once loaned this book to a friend who needed to find some short stories to use as models for form, etc. for school, and crossed out 3 of the 10 titles in the table of contents as probably suitable for skipping. While every collection like this will have its high points, 7 out of 10 seem to be must-read hits to me, and you are looking for too much in a short story collection if you expect more than that - even Hemingway's collections have their duds thrown in.


Like _Pugilist At Rest_ which preceded it, _Cold Snap_ is an excellent work and should be considered and one of the most consistently outstanding collection of stories in contemporary American fiction. Jones is an author who writes about what he knows. He is a former marine and an ex-boxer, and therefore marines and boxers feature largely in his stories. Jones' disappointing follow-up, _Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine_, unfortunately shows that this is not a formula with unlimited longevity. This collection, however, works splendidly. I have a great appreciation for Jones' authenticity. He gets it right. The closing story "Dynamite Hands" is a masterpiece. Not a word out of place, a perfectly crafted gem. Jones depicts perfectly the complexity of boxing, and manages to successfully capture an amazing range of emotions in and out of the ring.Another notable standout is "Way Down Deep in the Jungle" about a New Zealand doctor on an aid mission in Africa, and his unlikely companion: a pet baboon. Surrounded by death, AIDS, corruption, and despair, the baboon (vilified by the native staff) is his sole distraction. Not pretty stuff, much of what you will find here; _Cold Snap_ is a blend of death, drug abuse, suicide, and various other dark elements of the human condition. But somehow Jones manages to craft some likeable characters and put them into situations which shed some light on our humanity. An excellent book.

One of the best fiction writers in America

Thom Jones is one of the best fiction writers in America. Joyce Carol Oates once said that reading Jones is like speeding down the highway in a car with the windows rolled down. It's better than that! People who come from the walks of life that Jones has come from are not supposed to be verbal, much less have the ability to write. Jones can not only write, he can create alternate worlds in the space of 2,000-to-5,000 words. In every one of the stories in "Cold Snap," he does just that. You'll come away wiser, changed. Only the best fiction can do that.

The best short story writer I've yet read

Short stories are my gig, and upon finding Thom Jones (Cold Snap & The Pugilist at Rest), I'll simply say -- in case you care, because if you didn't, you certainly wouldn't be reading reader reviews, now would you? -- that Mr. Jones is the very zenith of the art. Yes, his stories are tense, dark, foreboding, gritty -- and real and often very funny. The dark humor found in Thom Jones' writing mirrors that of this so-called "real life," complete with subtle affronts to the laughable state of humanity, the shells of men and the chemical escapism that entices many of them into subscription, and characters real enough to make you think twice about with whom you allow yourself to be surrounded. All in all, a fantastic, stunning compilation. Read it. Twice. You won't regret it.

a sober view of life

Thom Jones doesn't mess around. He gives it to you straight: life is hard. And just because it is hard, it doens't mean that it isn't funny. With his fantastic writing, Thom Jones delievers us a masterpiece.
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