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Paperback Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine : Stories Book

ISBN: 0316472409

ISBN13: 9780316472401

Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine : Stories

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

Twelve stories that teeter between wicked humor and stinging pathos encompassdilapidated right arenas, state mental hospitals, and chaotic emergency roomswhere the inhabitants are brilliantly etched characters.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings


I can't believe this book got some luke-warm readers' reviews here! Well I for one ate it up. I'm very impressed by this writer. He is one of those writers that makes me feel amazed that I am alive while he is actually producing these wonders. My only criticism of this book is a tiny one-- i felt disappointed in "A Run Through the Jungle" when Jones felt it necessary to point out the karmic significance of the fiery death of the road-runner killer. I just felt he should have had a bit more confidence in his readers' abilities to make that connection on their own. But that's it- my only complaint. Other than that- WOW! This book is incredibly well-written and the characters are amazing. Jones is a huge huge talent and i am certain that there will be many many a book report assigned on his work in future high-school/college English classes.

An original American voice

Thom Jones' stories resist easy classification, and merely recapping the action of even a few does him a disservice. However those unfamiliar with his work will get a strong sense of his story-telling powers simply by reading the title story in this, his latest collection.That story has the peculiar gem-like perfection of some of Hemingway's best, although I don't mean to suggest that Jones in any way mimicks Hemingway's style, except in the sense that he gains power by leaving details out. Jones' hardboiled look at a Golden Gloves boxer whose "career" ends shortly after it begins does more than sharply catalog the rounds of training, the fear and exultation in the ring and the physical pain of boxing. It suggests a way of life ending and a new one beginning. Although we leave him late in his teenage years, it's easy to envision the protagonist at 30 on a barstool, hunched over a beer and confiding to a stranger the words of the story's title.In its unsentimental look at amateur boxing, the story recalls Leonard Gardner's classic "Fat City," but the other stories range far beyond the ring, into mental wards, lonely apartments and grimy film projection booths. This is strong stuff, but Jones rarely hits a false note. "Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine" is a worthy successor to the equally well-done "Cold Snap" and "The Pugilist at Rest."

From a former Recon Marine--Thom Jones is the bomb!

Once again Thom Jones has given his readers a great collection of fiction. Mr. Jones is one of the few authors who I make a point of reading anything and everything he publishes the moment it comes out. He hasn't let me down yet, and I'm betting he never will. If you haven't read his previous two collections, buy them and read them. He's a contemporary master of the genre.

Perhaps the Only 90's Writer Who May Be Considered Great

I gave "Cold Snap" only three stars because of what I saw as a creeping political correctness marring the veracity of the storytelling. This book is a five star wonder. Jones has a few flaws, still. (The vulgarity of the dialogue loses its edge because it is so omnipresent.) But I was breathless while reading these stories. We're in the presence of a potential giant, in the Hemingway sense, here. The stories actually have meaning. They don't spend half the prose on paying obesiance to modern schools of feminist and critical thought. They're a phenomenon in that they succeed largely because they refuse to do so. They're about our fathers, mothers, ourselves. Real people, real world, real ache and redemption. After a decade which has promulgated the most politically dogmatic prose since Stalin (nearly every novel has been about racism, sexism, or the virtue of homosexuality), this is magically liberating stuff.

New Stories from a Shamefully Underrated National Treasure

This new story collection shows a huge talent, cruising steadily at the height of his powers, three books in and still going strong. Easily as deft and accomplished as his previous high-water mark, Pugilist At Rest, this book seizes you with vividly drawn characters and the habit-forming tempos of Jones' brilliant, un-flowery prose. One of the only writers around who possesses the quintessentially American combination of being a seasoned, masterly stylist and also compulsively readable, Thom Jones is not only good, but he's good FOR you. And if you've come to expect this from him, then this book will in no respect let you down. Sonny Liston Was A Friend of Mine is Thom Jones being really ON. Some of the stories in this collection feature characters that, if you've read Jones' other two books (and, trust me, you should), you will have seen before. And you'll be glad they're back, they're some of Jones' sharpest creations. That Thom Jones languishes in a nether-world between (relative) obscurity and mass popularity while certain American authors without Jones' skill and without Jones' robust inventiveness sell inferior books by the truckload, is a travesty. This darling of the critics is one who truly does deserve the wide readership that other, lesser writers enjoy. If you've not read any Thom Jones before, what can I tell you? It's all good, and this is as perfect a place to start as any. For fireball prose that hits like a hammer yet cuts finer than a razor, Thom Jones is peerless.
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