The Pugilist at Rest (1993), Thom Jones' first collection of short stories, came up on my random book reading system this week, much like his second short story collection, Cold Snap came up for me almost exactly three years ago. I'm not sure how I waited three years to read this, since I liked Cold Snap so much, and I hope it doesn't take another three years for his third book to make its way out of Dr. M's secret closet of unread books and onto my bookshelves.
Each of Jones' stories is so filled with character and detail that they seem like complete novels in my memory. Janitors, doctors, soldiers, epileptics, boxers, and philosophers weave in and out of his writing. And although some phrases and situations are repeated in multiple stories, each individual piece is so vivid and different that nothing seems stale or forced about the repetition.
There was one story in this bunch that I didn't like that much, but it was quickly forgotten in the awesomeness that is the rest of this book. Go read it! Yes!