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The Pugilist at Rest

The Pugilist at Rest Thom Jones made his literary debut in The New Yorker in Within six months his stories appeared in Harper s Esquire Mirabella Story Buzz and in The New Yorker twice The Pugilist at Rest the t

  • Title: The Pugilist at Rest
  • Author: Thom Jones
  • ISBN: 9780316473040
  • Page: 357
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 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 StoriesThom 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 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 the combat zones of Vietnam or the brittle social and intellectual milieu of an elite New England college, whether recounting the poignant last battles of an alcoholic ex fighter or the hallucinatory visions of an American wandering lost in Bombay in the aftermath of an epileptic fugue are fueled by an almost brutal vision of the human condition, in a world without mercy or redemption Physically battered, soul sick, and morally exhausted, Jones s characters are yet unable to concede defeat his stories are infused with the improbable grace of the spirit that ought to collapse, but cannot For in these extraordinary pieces of fiction, it is not goodness that finally redeems us, but the heart s illogical resilience, and the ennobling tenacity with which we cling to each other and to our lives The publication of The Pugilist at Rest is a major literary event, heralding the arrival of an electrifying new voice in American fiction, and a writer of magnificent depth and range With these eleven stories, Thom Jones takes his place among the ranks of this country s most important authors.

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    1 thought on “The Pugilist at Rest

    1. As I've said before, I have a short list of guys I admire and want to emulate when it comes to writing. Thom Jones is undoubtedly one of them.My feelings on 'The Pugilist at Rest' are pretty much the same as how I felt about Thom's other short story collection 'Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine'. Jones is a craftsman, his words are hard and unflinching, yet refined. His prose is unusually powerful. In short, they are the writings of a master. This collection reads like an act of desperation some [...]

    2. I hate these fucking stars. I enjoyed this book a lot, but I just get so stressed-out trying to quantify that. These stories were about boxers (men and dogs), marines, sex, gender, and traumatic brain injury. What's not to like? Good question: the philosophy stuff. Sometimes all the philosophers and manliness tropes made me feel annoyed and bored, and this book reminded me of that tiresome guy on a motorcycle with a pack of Camel straights in his shirtsleeve, who's just trying way too painfully [...]

    3. There are many relevant allusions to art, philosophy and literature but whatever story Thom Jones writes, he explores three subjects:The first subject is violence…“Jensen moved in and started bouncing his fists off Baggit's head. Baggit rushed forward with his forehead and the two men collided heads. It sounded like two bowling balls clanking together, and now Jensen stalled. It seemed that Baggit was going to kick him, but then he walked by and went over to hold on to a bamboo post that sup [...]

    4. thom brown's books will grab you by the fucking throat and throttle you until you put the thing down. i'm constantly amazed at how powerful and visceral his stories are. and that's not their only appeal -- powerful scenes do not alone make great stories. these are stories that are not necessarily traditional in their structure, or in how the epiphanies unfold. but the end justifies the means. i believe this is his greatest collection, but that's not to say that 'cold snap' or 'sonny liston' are [...]

    5. Short stories about dying horses, Vietnam, alcohol, boxers, and masculinity in general, so y'know, uber-hetero and stuff. The writing is phenomenal. This is the kind of writing that that dickhead in your creative writing class WISHES he could write. They're all great, but really all you need are the first three Vietnam stories, which are mindblowingly amazing.

    6. IL MONDO COME VOLONTÀ E RAPPRESENTAZIONENell’America di Thom Jones (l'acca è da non trascurare) chi non è sotto le armi (Vietnam, marine, Seal e affini) è in manicomio (depressi, maniaci, schizofrenici, violenti e affini). Tra l’istituzione militare e quella psichiatrica c’è osmosi fluida, l’una nutre l’altra e viceversa.I pochi che non rientrano in questo schema sono probabilmente da qualche parte a spappolarsi il fegato bevendo (birra, bourbon, tequila, vodka…) o a massacrarsi [...]

    7. The Kirkus Review says this: "These 11 mostly hard-luck stories, with their mean and nutty existential heroes and their punch-drunk visions of hell, place Jones right among the literary heavyweights. In many of these gritty tales, first-timer Jones displays the peculiar genius of the autodidact--someone who contemplates the great ideas on his own, and tests them against the rawest of everyday experience." I think "mean and nutty" pretty much characterizes the protagonists of all these stories - [...]

    8. Thom Jones comes at you like great boxers do when they've got you trapped on the ropes, twelfth round, thirty seconds left - full of exhausted fury, shadowy, unpredictable combinations, a swarming, relentless, impossible energy, desperate imagination, feints of all kinds, and the barking, savage voices of those who've felt more than once they were about to dieon the battlefield, in the ring, at three o'clock in the morning twenty years later, trying to figure out how the hell, exactly, am I goin [...]

    9. Denis Johnson and Thom Jones share the same muse. This should be a relief, since having read Denis Johnson before this book made it seem that Johnson had his creative proboscus sniffing up creativity in some locked away subterranean hole. Two probosci, one hole. Which brings me to my other point; these stories present a decidedly masculine energy, one that is strangely tender. I have never seen the Kid Rock Scott Stapp prostitute orgy video, but I imagine some tender moments emerged between the [...]

    10. In the last story in this collection, one of Jones's characters speaks about a rare concept in boxing called the "third wind." After you catch your second wind, and become tired again, you might catch another moment of temporary vigor that could enable you to persevere and vanquish your opponent. But, here, however, as Jones plumbs the worlds of academia, boxing and war, we see several stories where the characters fight through to their third wind, but there is little vanquishing, just more and [...]

    11. An object lesson in cooking. The best of cooks, as I understand it, are able to take a few ingredients--the purest they can find--and distill them into a few straight-forward yet astounding dishes. Jones ingredients are a few truths: war, boxing, loss, magic, potential, irrational instinct,etc. His treatment of them makes me feel that rare sort of simultaneous resonance and dissonance with the world (resonant dissonance? dissonant resonance?) only found in the best of books or works of art. It i [...]

    12. i remember reading "a white horse" many years ago and thinking "oh my god, who is this, how is this happening, this is amazing, holy shit, someone wrote this???" and then getting to the end and turning the page and turning it back and just staring at it blankly. that's the end? what, did he die or something? and that's how i feel about every story in this book. (except the ones in the middle, which just aren't very good.) it's an amazing, thrilling, fantastic voice, but he just can't write an en [...]

    13. One of the best story collections, aside from Tim O'Brien's THE THINGS THEY CARRIED, about the Vietnam war (or war in general) that I've ever read. The title stories from both of these collections are powerful and haunting.

    14. 4.5 starsThom Jones died last year. He put his whole large heart into these stories of war, boxing, drinking, & the tolls taken.The fits are coming more and more. I’m loaded on Depakene, phenobarbital, Tegretol, Dilantin ― the whole shit load. A nurse from the V.A. bought a pair of Staffordshire terriers for me and trained them to watch me as I sleep, in case I have a fit and smother facedown in my bedding. What delightful companions these dogs are! One of them, Gloria, is especially int [...]

    15. 5 stars for the first three stories alone. Another favorite was "Unchain My Heart." "Silhouettes" was batshit crazy and a misleading title somehow. The rest range from good to zany. Great collection.

    16. I recently came upon a cheap copy of this book at a discount bookstore in my area, and remembered liking it so decided to give it a go. Why not -- I mean, it's good for me to throw some literary fiction in there now and again, right? This reminded me, however, of why I always wind up reading literary short fiction. I don't know if I just had really different taste in college (very possible) or if I am actually remembering liking Cold Snap (slightly less possible, since I'm pretty sure I distinct [...]

    17. Thom Jones has been a Marine, a boxer with over 150 fights, an advertising copywriter and a janitor, so it's no surprise that his first collection of stories is heavily autobiographical. The three Vietnam stories form the meat of the book - the title story is a classic, and the other two near-masterpieces. Sometimes, whenever Jones strays a little distance from his own life story, the results can be entertaining, but one-dimensional. He does, however, deliver a knockout blow in his story of a wo [...]

    18. The short stories in this collection seem to all center around two types of characters--the egocentric opportunist (Part II), or the tragically screwed good person (the rest of the collection). The author incorporates several recurring themes in his stories (many of which draw on his own experiences), namely boxing, the military, epilepsy, quirky nicknames, famous songs, and a love for literature/philosophy. A testament to his good writing is that I found myself enjoying the stories even when th [...]

    19. Despite being in “Best American Short Stories” four years in a row in the 1990s, winning an O. Henry Award, and narrowly missing a second Jones’ career never really took off. This collection is uneven but worth owning. Jones covers a range of topics from boxing to being the houseguest of a more successful relative with ease. I recall discussing his works along with other, seemingly forgotten, authors William Humphrey, Norman Maclean, William Fox Price, and Ferrol Sams. I recommend the titl [...]

    20. there were a few gems in here and i liked his style. the first story grabbed me, but i gradually lost interest when i noticed it was mostly a bunch of repeated metaphors about intellectual boxers presently or formerly in the marines. maybe he should just write a novel about himself instead of trying to make it seem like he's created a bunch of unique characters.

    21. "You're such a meany bear when you're hung over.""As I moved out of the jungle again with my new pack, I sounded like a couple of skeletons fucking on a tin roof and had to stop and repack it."-Break on Through"Until you forgive yourself you cannot love anyone or do a drop of good anywhere or anyhow."-"As of July 6"

    22. Tough-guy fiction.Boxing and Vietnam and absent fathers and sex, in that order. Boxing in Vietnam. boxing to spite absent fathers. Absent fathers who were boxers. That kind of thing. If you like Tim O'Brien but think his books are too complex and meta-fictional and self-conscious, and lack boxing, then Thom Jones is your man. The title story is really kind of magnificent, tho.

    23. Short stories by a former boxer/janitor turned writer. Sort of manly yet sensitive and contemplative, sad and a bit cynical but not lacking a sense of the absurdity of life. I like it. Brings to mind Tim O'Brien, Charles Bukowski, Raymond Carver. I seem to be going through a pugilist fascination period.

    24. The work that helped clear the New Yorker's cobwebs. Like Denis Johnson with added testosterone, his tales of pugs, soldiers and addicts have the rare ability of making disintegration thoroughly addictive reading - perhaps best in a story aptly titled 'I Want to Live!'.His later works impress, but they never quite equal this collection.

    25. thom jones was the janitor at a highschool near my hometown while i was growing up. that only became news when this book came out and then he wasn't the janitor anymore. lots of people told me they liked the work, but it didn't really touch me.

    26. Thom Jones is an excellent writer of short stories, this collection is especially good. The war stories are fantastic, the insight into the 'sweet science' of boxing is fascinating. Frank, violent, funny and oftentimes strangely beautiful, his voice as a writer is very strong and very compelling.

    27. A very great (and also very flawed, in the way that early Hemingway is 'flawed') book. Really wanted to give this 5, especially the earlier stories. A four and a half from me. I haven't read a book of short stories this good since Jesus' Son.

    28. In my opinion, the title short story "The Pugilist At Rest," is the only reason there is a short story collection. Usually the pleasure of a short story collection is finding those hidden treasures, but aside from "The Pugilist at Rest," it was the same story over and over again.

    29. I don't what I love more: Thom Jones, the alcoholic janitor-turned-fiction writer, or the writing itself. These tales are lean and staggering -- it's a punch drunk tour of self-awareness and redemption.

    30. Re-read for the first time in a dozen years while on a plane. The Pugilist at Rest is a great collection of short stories written in a very informal conversational style. The stories involve either boxing, the Vietnam War, epilepsy, or philosophy and occasionally all at the same time.

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