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4.04  ·  Rating details ·  209 ratings  ·  25 reviews
The work of John Jodzio has already made waves across the literary community. Some readers noticed his nimble blending of humor with painful truths reminded them of George Saunders. His creativity and fresh voice reminded others of Wells Tower's Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned. But with his new collection, Jodzio creates a class of his own.

Knockout is the unified col
Paperback, 205 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by Soft Skull Press
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4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  209 ratings  ·  25 reviews

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Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Jodzio once again delivers a stellar set of hilarious dark comedies and surprise twists in his latest book. Jodzio's stories are quintessentially American: fucked up, funny, a little sad, but with just enough humor and hope for his hapless characters. I'll read anything he writes.
Pearse Anderson
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have twenty pages left in this collection, but I'm definitely going to finish it sometime today. And although it's an anthology, I know how it will end. Because every story ends this way: weird Americans doing a small thing like buying frozen pizza, finding a flashlight, or standing in their living room fully nude, that are symbols/summaries for their experience as a whole. A lot in this book repeats. Panties are stolen like 3 times. Dart leagues mentioned that many times too. The whole end-on ...more
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some say that Jodzio's stories are about those living on the edge of the American Dream. I disagree. These characters are about as close to the American Dream as a refugee afloat in the Meditteranean Sea.

Here's the first line of the story titled "Chet";
My older brother Chet died after he got bit by a sick elk.

The first line of the story titled "Winnepeg":
I'm on the wrong side of history and I've got a vodka-soaked sea sponge shoved up my ass to help me forget.

One more (can't resist).
The first li
Ümit Mutlu
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
John Jodzio’nun öyküleri kısa ve akılda kalıcı. Dili ise oldukça yalın, söz oyunlarına, süslü betimlemelere ya da iddialı fikirlere girişmeden, karakterlerini ve onların başına gelenleri sakince anlatıyor. Okuması kolay olduğu kadar eğlenceli de. Karakterleri de sıradan kişiler değil, ya alkolik, ya bağımlılar; adi suçlular ya da engelliler. Hep kaybedenler, başarısız olanlar. Bu da onları daha enteresan kılıyor. Bu enteresanlıkları da sade bir dille bütünleştirince Jodzio, ortaya etkili kısa öy ...more
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, small-press
John Jodzio's 16 contemporary short fictions are populated by my kind of people: broken souls and beautiful losers who seek solace in drugs, violence and the vagaries of chance. The stories start in places that seem just barely plausible and then they get delightfully stranger. These are people for whom stealing tigers or ingesting unlabeled aphrodisiacs seems like a good idea. Wildly imaginative, the stories are propelled by quirky premises and the protagonists's willingness to go along with th ...more
Chris Roberts
Mar 14, 2016 rated it did not like it
Forget Nero and ready up the fiddles, I am burning.

Kick it down in echo sound, fast-forward motion, lamp posts, girls, back streets, where the night cheats, neon illuminates the color kings, don't need back-up, bust the crime boys and rack-up, number one, the only one, always, the last man standing.

Been there.
Done that.
Read it before.
But not...

Chris Roberts
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Short stories are never my favorite read because if written well they always leave me wanting more. I've also read good stories about deeply flawed individuals on the cusp of achieving the American Dream and although these are Jodzio stories as well (ie. a recovering drug addict who gets tricked into stealing a tiger, a man buys a used sex chair from his neighbor, a new mother suffering from agoraphobia who is raising her son completely indoors.etc.) the difference is Jodzio is able to drive the ...more
Jan 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Nice collection of stories, little hit or miss maybe, each relying on a little hook of some sort. Highlights: A man and his son running a rundown B&B get a rare visitor in "Great Alcoholic-owned Bed and Breakfasts of the Eastern Seaboard"; a woman watches her boyfriend speed-date and grows anxious in "Someday All Of This Will Probably Be Yours"; two girls' parents separate in "Lily And Annabelle"; a man visit's his former lover's widow's estate sale in "Ackerman Is Selling His Sex Chair For ...more
Scott Parson
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Fun to read, when a little acerbic perversity is needed to cut the cloying contemporary literary fiction flogged by the editorial gatekeepers and tastemakers struggling to get a headlock on slippery readers.

I read Jodzio's stories trying to anticipate when the marginally normal characters would skew off into abnormality, forging it into a new normalcy. He makes you believe it. The characters in these various stories start out on firm ground then walk off the end of convention's pier, and I'm mar
Keith Rosson
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really dug this one. Daaaark stories with some grim, wonderful gallows humor going on. Some of the stories are pretty straightforward literary affairs, but others have a hilarious magical realism bent that works terrifically. It's when Jodzio's pulling these rabbits out of his hat - Canadian war-tortured suffering through an American occupation, a recovering addict who can pinch tigers into submission, a kid embittered at the corporate opium den across the street - that he's most successful. Thi ...more
Oct 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Very engaging and fun to read (read the whole thing in about 3 hrs). However, by the third of fourth story I became a little annoyed with his negative portrayal of women, usually as sluts and and/or cheaters. I was waiting for a strong female character but even the female protagonists come off as weak and obsessed with men. Then again, the men are bitter and equally obsessed with women, but equal treatment doesn’t quite excuse the over sexualized female characterization. Still, great writing and ...more
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm giving this five stars because it far surpassed my expectations. I thought I was going to breeze through some transgressive pieces. Instead, I was entrenched in some literary stories that had some thought-provoking themes tightly wound in the prose. I found the collection honest, not gimmicky. This one was a pleasant surprise.
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dark, humorous stories about the underdogs, the low lifes, those living in the shadows. You'll remember every single story. I loved it.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
"Duplex" is one of the funniest stories I've ever read. I loved this collection.
Dec 29, 2016 added it
These stories are each a tiny little prism of hard-scrabble existence. The ranch cowboy who has to work weddings now. The mother with the indoor baby, who doesn't even see the grocery delivery boy. The sisters who try to get by with not much else besides each other. The speed date con.
There are many stories here, many characters, and oh my gosh, every one of them rings true. You may think that some of this is fantasy - but no. These little worlds exist out there, somewhere, for some people. And
Apr 06, 2016 rated it liked it
This collection of short stories was kind of hit and miss for me. There were some that I found funny and profound, and others that really didn't work for me at all. A lot of them involved drug use and people in weird and desperate situations. There are two stories that stick with me most. The first is "Someday All of This Will Probably Be Yours" about a boyfriend and girlfriend who run a scam where they meet people at speed dating sessions and then take them home and rob them. The other one is t ...more

Some great premises, wacky stories here, clearly influenced by Saunders. The language is a little too loose in places (there are way too many "dumbasses" lurking in its pages, e.g.) and it sometimes seems the author may have a "touristic" relationship to some of his hard-luck, working class characters. All in all, though, a breath of fresh air, and a lot of fun. I reviewed it for the Minneapolis Star Tribune here:
Michelle Clement
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was an awesome collection of stories, and felt like if Fight Club and anything Palahniuk had been thoughtfully condensed down into little nuggets, each with it's own flawed and intruguing characters. So good!
Mandy Steffen
Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
These stories were darkly humorous, bizarre, pointless, and inspired a whole lotta "wtf's?". That being said, I kind of loved this book. The writing was great, the voices of the many characters were unique, and each story left me with kind of a bemused smirk.

I won this in a Goodreads giveaway, and I'm glad I did, as I would have never picked this up on my own.
J. Bradley
Mar 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent short story collection. Jodzio takes these insane premises and makes them work in a literary setting (tiger kidnapping, corporate opium dens just to name a couple). It's fun to see how someone subverts literature.
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-reading
Yes, there are still original, funny voices out there. Yes, you can be a fantastic literary writer while also being absurd.
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Pretty damn good short stories.
Jun 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Funny and sometimes surprising (and often quotable), but fairly forgettable.

As in, for half a second I forgot I'd finished it.
Becky Loader
May 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
Not my cup of tea. I really don't need to read about so much angst.
Jeffrey Martin
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great collection of short fictional stories that certainly grabs your attention.
Ben Christensen
rated it really liked it
Nov 16, 2018
Jon Riddle
rated it it was amazing
Jul 16, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Mar 18, 2017
Apple Tumbling
rated it really liked it
Sep 07, 2016
Tabitha Loveless
rated it it was amazing
Sep 17, 2017
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John Jodzio's work has been featured in a variety of places including This American Life, McSweeney's, and One Story. He's the author of the short story collections, Knockout, Get In If You Want To Live and If You Lived Here You’d Already Be Home. He lives in Minneapolis. Find out more at
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“I hated how sometimes life threw you a curveball—how you thought you were going to make some money selling a stolen tiger to make your dad proud, but then all the sudden there were drugs instead of money and then you were probably going to relapse mostly because you didn’t want to disappoint your best friend who had recently drawn a very funny cartoon about an octopus on your ass cheeks that would not come off your body no matter how hard you scrubbed.” 1 likes
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