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Cold Snap

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  686 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
A collection of stories by the author of "The Pugilist at Rest". They take readers from down-and-out in America to death and disease in Rwanda, introducing characters such as hard-luck fighters steeling themselves for battles they've already lost, and doctors who fall in love with their illnesses.
Paperback, 210 pages
Published May 5th 1997 by Faber and Faber Limited (first published 1995)
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(showing 1-30)
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Mar 03, 2008 Sullivan241osu rated it really liked it
Read this book and never have a happy thought for the rest of your life.
Nov 13, 2007 Pat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Son of a bitch, there's a cold snap and I do this number where I leave all the faucets running ..."

I'd give it five stars just for that opening, which begins the title story, which is a piece of brilliance. Hope he's still out there writing.
Apr 06, 2012 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brutal and Brittle
I first ran into Thom Jones at Portland Community College, of course not in person, but his short story “I Want to Live!” was assigned for analysis in a creative writing class. I immediately wanted to know more, read more and find out if his greatness prevailed in the rest of his work. So I must admit that I picked up his book with a favorable bias in my pocket. In Cold Snap, Jones’ second collection of short stories, there is a strong voice telling tales where there are often
Joe Noto
Dec 08, 2014 Joe Noto rated it it was ok
This book is a collection of dark stories that are separate from each other, but all share a melancholy, hopeless, and submissive tone. Seems like every main character is hanging by a thread and doesn't care. It got old pretty quickly sadly. The first pages are A++, the first three stories are great, and the last story is kind of good, but that's it. I liked the overall darkness of the book, which kept me reading.

The Red Rocket story was awfully unreadable. I found myself skimming through this o
Aug 26, 2008 Rebecca rated it really liked it
I went through a short story phase, that's all I read, and this is another great collection of stories. I think Jones is at his best describing war and the military; his style of prose just fits the topic. His other stories are interesting but don't have the same power. His love of boxing is showcased in the last story of the book. I didn't enjoy it as much as the first three stories in, "The Pugilist at Rest," but those three stories are the gold-standard for how a short war story should be wri ...more
Jett Bailey
Aug 13, 2015 Jett Bailey rated it it was ok
Mr. Jones' first collection of short stories, 'The Pugilist at Rest', blew me away. I recall closing the cover on the final story in the collection and breathing a quiet "Dammmn..." from the emotional gut punch. I picked up 'Cold Snap' hoping for more of the same impassioned, soulful writing and got...ehhhh. 'Cold Snap' settles into a sad but comfortable groove and kind of stays there. All of the stories deal with similar bleak themes, defeated characters, and familiar subject matter (Africa, ai ...more
Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo)
ondata di noia

ma che due palle...c'è sempre un banale antieroe che guarda le gambe alle donne, in più questo qui si becca la malaria in Africa, mentre è là a lavorare come medico, e per farsi piacere il tutto butta giù quantitativi industriali di alcool e droghe...poi ci sono quelli che sono tornati, e perfino una protagonista donna che però è un maschiaccio e guida auto da corsa tutto scritto come al solito: in stile finto frenetico...
"Don't come the raw prawn with me, Dorey," I says. "Don't do me block; I'm no drongo's potato peeler. Wilbur, Col, and Bluey are me mates and there's no more to it. It's you that's been dipping around. Commitin' the intimacy. Don't cometh the uncooked crustacean."
Zach Smith
Aug 16, 2014 Zach Smith rated it really liked it
I found this book in a discount bookstore and picked it up for 3$ because it was a story collection, and I recognized the name from Best American Short Stories. I was further suprized when a friend had told me that Thom Jones was “required reading for minimalist writers” having read the story “I Want to Live!” (from BASS) a dosen times, and this collection, I’m not so sure this is accurate, it is not distinctively minimalist, maybe he had Jones confused with someone else. I would like to get som ...more
Thom Jones (try bringing him up in conversation, your second sentence will be, "No, not the guy who sang 'It's Not Unusual'") never went to Vietnam. But he writes about boxers, soldiers, and the mentally ill with startling precision. In his previous collection, "The Pugilist at Rest", the characters are some combination of all three of these, and you buy every word, you believe he was there, and on a certain level, that you are there. "Cold Snap" is nowhere near being a worthy follow-up. When I ...more
Mar 19, 2008 Krys rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Krys by: James Burford, Lisa Stolley
In Cold Snap, Tom Jones's themes are pretty limited: doctors, africa, diabetes, drugs, petty crime, boxing. That seems like quite the variety until you discover every story recycles two or three of these themes, without said reconfigurations adding any deeper appreciation of the themes he is beating to death.

I loved his story "I want to Live" which I believe appeared in his previous collection, but here nothing to impress me. Characters often felt 2-dimensional, and even the nuances of "saving l
Sep 08, 2012 Meredith rated it really liked it
I didn't read his first collection of short stories, The Pugilist at Rest, so I can't comment on whether or not these are warmed-over leftovers. But I enjoyed these stories. Someone else listed the reoccurring themes, but they left out mental illness (along with diabetes, petty crime, drugs, various adrenaline-producing pursuits...). My favorite had to be Rocketfire Red, the only story with a female protagonist. The Australian vernacular was delightful: "Just tell the cook to knock off its horns ...more
Barksdale Penick
Oct 08, 2012 Barksdale Penick rated it liked it
In this collection of short stories Thom Jones explores many of the same themes in Cold Snap as in The Pugilist at Rest--boxing, Vietnam, mental instability, and dying. There were some very solid tales in this collection, but overall it was not as strong as The Pugilist, which I loved. I don't usually choose to read short stories, as I find it a little disappointing to spend a while getting familiar with a setting and theme and have it end. These stories do hearken back to short stories from ear ...more
Feb 26, 2010 Erik rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gritty-fiction
An excellent follow-up to "The Pugilist at Rest." Many of the same formulas and characters, (including a surprise reappearance of Ad Magic!) The sense of time and place is quite different, particularly the story about a Global Aid worker in Africa, who ends up completely destroyed, due in part to the despair and futility he encounters, but also his steady diet of whatever intoxicants he can get his hands on. However, leave it to Jones to turn a dire situation into a hilarious one by adding a bou ...more
“Son of a bitch, there’s a cold snap and I do this number where I leave all the faucets running…”

He got me with that opening line. In this collection of short stories, Thom Jones writes about boxers, doctors, diabetes, soldiers in their dire funny situations. There's drugs, diabetes, mental illness, Global Aid, Africa and whatnots. Just when things got so intense, the author will pull back. It was edgy, raw & relentless.

This book can rob you of all the beautiful thoughts. It's like everythin
Sep 04, 2010 Nan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The quality of work here seems erratic. Edginess can only take you so far. I was sucked into the craziness of several stories. "Quicksand" was quirky and great.

When he's playing with the mind of a man, Jones seems right on. When he talks of white men and Africa, he seems to know the heart of darkness. When he strays into other territories, he totally misfires. "Rocketfire Red" seemed like an excuse to write a story in an Aussie dialect. "I Need a Man to Love Me" was simply irritating.

Jones is
May 23, 2009 Jim rated it liked it
While some stories in this collection may be a 5, in my mind, some stories were rushed and weak. If you are a Thom Jones fan, go ahead and read this book, there are some great stories in the collection. When you find a Thom Jones story and you like the characters it is a great read, when you can't relate to any of the characters, it's a long and painful read. I would also say this was the most depressing of his 3-collections.
Lee Harrington
May 26, 2013 Lee Harrington rated it it was amazing
One of the best--and most influential--story collections of all times. So many stories in this collection are masterpieces. I use "Cold Snap" in nearly all of my creative writing workshops as an example of a brilliant first-person narrative. Mostly, I just love Thom's energy and sense of humor. It's no wonder he's a superstar. Love you, Mr. Jones!
Apr 09, 2015 Ioanna added it
Thom Jones is one of the best contemporary short story writers I know. He has two other books, I recommend all of them. They often read like essays; the narrators are usually on the edge of falling off whatever raft they are on, they're brilliantly insane, or just compellingly witty, and they always know how to break your heart in their weird way. There's no one else like him.
Aug 08, 2013 Miao rated it really liked it
Poor Richard and his baby sister. How could somebody live like this. It is really a sad, dark, hopeless story but, at least, for god's sake, they have each other. On the other hand, I feel grateful to my current life. And I believe I won't be depressed whenever thinking of Richard's situation...
Jun 02, 2008 Annette rated it it was ok
I can't get into short stories.
Aug 08, 2008 Dan rated it it was ok
I started reading this one put it down. Seemed to repeat his work on "Pugilist..." Eponymous story is great.
Oct 20, 2013 Paul rated it liked it
No pugilist at rest, but a couple of excellent stories.
Ben Brackett
Jun 23, 2015 Ben Brackett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When you describe how Thom Jones writes, the word you gotta use is bold.
Collection of stories. Jones's second book. Great storytelling- great style and voice.
Jan 25, 2014 L added it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 05, 2007 Jason rated it liked it
Somewhat of a sophomore slump but still worth a read.
I parodied this in my novel Uncorrected Proof (see )
Feb 11, 2016 Chuck rated it liked it
I found some of the stories incredibly entertaining. Others not so much. I often found it somewhat boring compared to what I'm used to.
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Thom Jones (born January 26, 1945) was an American writer, primarily of short stories.

Jones was raised in Aurora, Illinois, and attended the University of Hawaii, where he played catcher on the baseball team. He later attended the University of Washington, from which he graduated in 1970, and the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa, from which he received an M.F.A. in 1973.
Jones train
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