Catherine's Reviews > Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine

Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine by Thom Jones
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Jul 31, 08

Read in July, 2008

This is the first Thom Jones book I've read, and I was impressed. There's something really earthy about this writing, or maybe down to earth. It's tempting, because of his many boxing stories, to make a lot of boxing analogies about his writing, but I guess that'd be trite at this point. Still, the writing is really solid, and he does punch the hell out of his characters. No one has it easy; very few catch a break. But the stories aren't bleak; they can be quite funny.

Jones reminds me a little of Hemingway, a little of Raymond Carver, but he isn't really like either except that he's kind of a man's man writer. What I mean by that is, back when I worked at a bookstore, it was harder to recommend fiction to men than it was to women--some authors were just safer bets than others. Jones would be another safe one.

Teachers everywhere will feel satisfied by the story "Tarantula"--a vice principal jackass gets what he deserves. There's a series of stories about soldiers in Vietnam. Many of the characters in various stories have mental problems, abuse the same drugs, and wanted to be boxers--I found the title story particularly charming and well-done, regarding boxers.

I've read some reviews that say Jones's earlier stuff is better. We'll see.
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