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The Pugilist at Rest

Thom Jones is the Oliver Sacks of hard-boiled fiction. He writes stories of burnt-out soldiers, fighters and tough guys with neuropsych disorders -- bipolar, seizure, personality and fugue -- in a voice somewhere between Ernest Hemingway and Charles Bukowski.

The Pugilist at Rest

How appropriate, then, that I just read The Pugilist at Rest having forgotten that I'd read it before. I was several stories into it before the memories came back. It held up to a second reading quite well. Maybe I'll forget and re-read his second collection, Cold Snap, next.

books 2004.02.02 link


One-clicked! By the way, excellent recommendation, Page's "The Brazilians." Brazilians hate it. But it's all true.

colin [iggy cxe hairyeyeball punkto net] • 2004.02.07
Counter-recommend from my friend Ivan from the murky border zone between Billieburg and the awful slum with no name: The Russian Debutante's Handbook by Gary Shteyngart, the Nabokov of the Emma Lazarus Immigrant Absorption Society ...

colin [iggy cxe hairyeyeball punkto net] • 2004.02.07

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.02.07
Never say you exert no influence on the marketplace of ideas: I one-clicked "Pugilist" (and "Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine") and am up to my ears in it, getting the bends from it. Pug strikes me as an incredible calculated (or "contrived" used in an admiring way) pastiche of ham-fisted prose styles that reminds me more of Chuck Pahlanuk (if I spelled it right) than anything else. It's peculiar how the motifs of one story get transferred to another with a different set of dramatis personae (or are they? I'm confused. The narrator sounds like the same guy in every story narrated by a man). It's all one big theme and variation on masculinity and brain damage.

Billieburg is Williamsburg, Brooklyn, home of Galapagos and the McSweeney's crowd and the life and death struggle between hipster and Hasid (the Poles and Russians having apparently surrendered the field). My home for three years until the rents doubled overnight ...

Have you ever read Manuel Castells, by the way? I am reading The Internet Galaxy now. Thirty percent off ... You know you at least want it on your showing-off shelf ... The Berkeleyoid does great things like debunking all those nostrums holding that "the Web has no geography" ... Double-dare ya ... :-)

colin [iggy cxe hairyeyeball punkto net] • 2004.02.14
Yeah, Jones' recycling of pieces of plot and characterization does seem obsessive. That plus a hint of mania in his tone makes me suspect he knows whereof he speaks when he writes about madness.

Manuel Castells? Never heard of him. Interesting, but at this point you'd have to pay me well to get me to read an Internet book...

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.02.14
Professional burnout, understood. We'll stick to hamfisted prose. May I then suggest Che's Motorcycle Diaries, which I got for my birthday? I am determined to return the literary favor ... foshizzle dudizzle! :-)

colin [iggy cxe hairyeyeball punkto net] • 2004.02.14
I can't wait for the movie!

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.02.14
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