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Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine: Stories

by Thom Jones

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2513108,696 (3.67)4
A collection of stories which encompass the brittle dreams of a teenage boxer, Christmas in a psychiatric ward, a manic-depressive adolescent's passion for the heroine of Tom Jones, an unemployed man's experiments with mice, and a Vietnam veteran's night-time swim across the English Channel.
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This one was disappointing. After reading Jones' earlier collection, The Pugilist at Rest, and being completely blown away, this one, his latest collection of short stories, felt stunted. Sadly, Thom Jones doesn't seem to be growing as an artist. The result is a lot of telling without showing, the repetition of earlier themes or characters without any new development, and a list of unlikable characters paralytically unable to change. Although there are some fine stories here (I liked "40, Still at Home," "Tarantula," and "Mouses" a great deal) others, like "A Midnight Clear" and particularly the last story "You Cheated, You Lied" evidenced (to me, anyway) a writer unable to commit to developing a novel. Frustrating.

Overall, this is still a worthwhile collection, especially if you're already familiar with Jones' writing. When he's writing hot, his storytelling is masterful. ( )
  Adrian_Astur_Alvarez | Dec 3, 2019 |
This one was disappointing. After reading Jones' earlier collection, The Pugilist at Rest, and being completely blown away, this one, his latest collection of short stories, felt stunted. Sadly, Thom Jones doesn't seem to be growing as an artist. The result is a lot of telling without showing, the repetition of earlier themes or characters without any new development, and a list of unlikable characters paralytically unable to change. Although there are some fine stories here (I liked "40, Still at Home," "Tarantula," and "Mouses" a great deal) others, like "A Midnight Clear" and particularly the last story "You Cheated, You Lied" evidenced (to me, anyway) a writer unable to commit to developing a novel. Frustrating.

Overall, this is still a worthwhile collection, especially if you're already familiar with Jones' writing. When he's writing hot, his storytelling is masterful. ( )
  Adrian_Astur_Alvarez | Dec 3, 2019 |
Excellent collection from one of the best modern short-story writers around. ( )
  Polaris- | Jan 24, 2011 |
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A collection of stories which encompass the brittle dreams of a teenage boxer, Christmas in a psychiatric ward, a manic-depressive adolescent's passion for the heroine of Tom Jones, an unemployed man's experiments with mice, and a Vietnam veteran's night-time swim across the English Channel.

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