The Pugilist at Rest: Stories
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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 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.
green. I was grooving on the ride, hoping it would never end, when I heard the pilot point out the valley that was our destination and watched the first bird circle the valley before it dipped down low and finally set down. Our Kit Carson scout, Ondine, Jensen, and two Viet- namese Rangers jumped out of the slick and moved quickly through the elephant grass. Then it was our turn. I'm not sure if my brain was being hammered by all the amphetamine or if it was just adrenaline, but I
Popular Forces let go with the beehives, the flechettes sounding like whip- lashes. We decided to lay low in the trench long after the cap- tain called a cease-fire. I stuck one of Mason's Kotex pads on BreakonThrough 59 Gerber's wound and pressure-taped it with the last of the duct tape. Gerber said that the wound didn't hurt. The only thing that bugged him was that he could feel blood squishing in his boot. "How bad is it, Hollywood? I don't even want to look." "Gerber, you're
wrists and holds me down. He fucks me so hard I have orgasms like epilepsy. I love Bocassio even when I hate him. We drive the Ferrari to Nice. Bocassio shaves his beard. His face is pale and tender like a baby's, yet it looks much older than his twenty-eight years and it unsettles me. He says, "Hard miles on this face." 1 1 8 The Pugilist at Rest In Monte Carlo Bocassio starts a fight with two young men he catches sitting in the Ferrari, play-driving. One of them comes on to me.
candy supplies until the diversified occupations teacher had the lock 1 60 The Pugilist at Rest changed. Then Window began taking the cook's key to the freezer and started stealing student pizzas. One day, when he went for the key in the top drawer of the cook's desk, he found that it was gone. "They're on to you," Packard said. "Don't admit anything. If you get called in, deny it." "If I get called in}" Window said with real fear in his voice. "Yeah, if you get called in and
seat." As Ad Magic rummaged in the bag, the doctor came up alongside him and grabbed his wrist. He examined the little stainless- steel bracelet. "Epilepsy," the doctor said. "Mmm." He presented Ad Magic with a little flask of gin. "Swallow this und lie down," he said. "Horse will take time." It was dark when Ad Magic came to. The boxer dog was stand- ing over him, sniffing his face. Ad Magic rolled over and abruptly jerked himself upright. A number of oily torches had been lit,