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Paperback The Pugilist at Rest : Stories Book

ISBN: 0316473049

ISBN13: 9780316473040

The Pugilist at Rest : Stories

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

Thom Jones made his literary debut in The New Yorker in 1991. Within six months his stories appeared in Harper's, Esquire, Mirabella, Story, Buzz, and in The New Yorker twice more. "The Pugilist at Rest" - the title story from this stunning collection - took first place in Prize Stories 1993: The O. Henry Awards and was selected for inclusion in Best American Short Stories 1992. He is a writer of astonishing talent. Jones's stories - whether set in...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Excellent first work

The stories in this collection are amazing -- visual, visceral and emotional. The stories about time in Vietnam ("The Pugilist at Rest" and "Break on Through"), and "I Want to Live!", about a man's dying mother-in-law, are particularly moving. I highly recommend this book -- very powerful for a first time collection. I wish we'd see more from Mr. Jones -- his other short story collections are also worthwhile.


I last read this book 11 years ago when it came out in its first edition, and I still remember each story with such clarity it's like I just finished reading it this morning. That's nothing to do with my (atrocious) memory, but with the power and clarity of Jones' writing. I liken Thom Jones to a literary Tom Waits.


I generally don't post reviews on here, but seeing Thom Jones called 'tacky' is just too much for my sensitive mind to bear. There is nothing 'tacky' about this guy, and there's certainly nothing tacky about his stories. They're remarkable -- plot, prose, philosophy, sentiment... all are beyond reproach. He's simply the best living short story writer, period. Probably one of the best ever (it's all subjective, ain't it?). 'I want to live,' already discussed by several people, is unusually moving and manages to convey in a few short pages an overwhelming sense of what one not-too-old dying woman goes through. So what if Jones digs schopenhauer and is not afraid to tell us about him? Anything that can be done by fiction writers to make people consider philosophy -- especially long-underappreciated Schopenhauer -- is, to me, welcome. And the Ad Magic stories which appear in 'Cold Snap' and 'The Pugilist at Rest' are just incredible. As for the critique of Jones on the grounds that his medical knowledge is insufficient -- please. That's not any kind of literary criticism, even if Jones had gotten the drug stuff completely wrong. It's just irrelevant nit-picking.If you have not read anything by Thom Jones, do it. Buy something on here. Go to the store. Check one of his books out from the library.

Nothing Short of Awesome

I beg to differ with the reader from New York/Arizona. I can't imagine a more compelling, realistic world than that which Thom Jones creates for his characters to inhabit. "I Want to Live" is easily the best short-story I've read during the past decade, and among the very best of the century. (It was, in fact, chosen for inclusion in the Best American Short Stories of the Century.) There's not a false word in this collection, as far as I'm concerned; not a sentence that doesn't ring true. This is as gritty and powerful as fiction gets.

Thom Jones From Hindsight

I write this review with perhaps a unique perspective: that of having read all three of Jones' published short story collections first. I gave "Cold Snap" and "Sonny Liston" three and five stars, respectively. I have not read three books by one author consecutively since -- and I know it's becoming a cliche', now -- E. Hemingway, F. Fitzgerald and F. Dostoyevski. Even James Joyce required a break after two consecutives. Granted, Thom Jones is lighter fare than the red meat of the great European writers; still, I think this is high praise. Especially when one considers that Jones is swimming against a literary current. He is emphatically politically incorrect, and doesn't try (at least objectively) to please any fashionable political school of criticism. He writes intelligently, universally and boldly. I've read several criticisms centering on an imputed lack of thematic material. Yet, many of the stories in the books have absolutely nothing in common, and are written (save for the inescapable vulgarity of speech) in totally disparate voices. Recently, I read an article suggesting that Huxley, not Orwell, was right about the death of literature in future generations (i.e., people lacking the motivation to consume intelligent art, as opposed to censorship). One has to agree with this as the trend: with one ready exception: Mr. Jones. He has the capacity of making us care about literature again.
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