book cover of Cold Snap

Cold Snap

A collection of stories by

Thom Jones may be one of the few authors whose acknowledgments thank not only his dog, wife, and agent, but also Wyeth/Ayerst Laboratories and Stuart Pharmaceuticals, manufacturers of Effexor and Elavil--"drugs so good they feel illegal." Likewise, Cold Snap, Jones's second volume of short fiction, is so good these stories feel (but thankfully are not) illegal. In typically manic style they draw tragicomic portraits of boxers, Marines, and other assorted tough-guy types--even, in "Rocketfire Red," a part-Aborigine surfer girl turned drag racer and international model. Pitchman extraordinaire Ad Magic from The Pugilist at Rest returns, writing fraudulent but devastatingly effective direct-mail appeals for Global Aid even as he loses his mind on the combined effects of Dexedrine, paregoric, malaria, and a thumb smashed by Rwandan soldiers. In "Way Down Deep in the Jungle," another Africa story, cynical Dr. Koestler's baboon absconds with an entire bottle of whiskey, then entertains the natives with shockingly accurate imitations of the American smoking, masturbating, and moving his bowels. A plastic surgeon boxes his way through a fatal heart attack in "Ooh Baby Baby"; a diabetic with an amputated foot feeds a black widow spider in "Pickpocket"; the young Marine of "Pot Shack" compounds his foolishness in joining up ("Why did you join? Why did you join? Etc. Why did you fucking join?") by volunteering for recon, "where they take awful to a new level." It's the kind of fictional universe in which a manic doctor plays Russian roulette to cheer himself up, and the result is somehow, improbably, funny. But these stories go well beyond whistling in the dark. They are in fact a way to hold our 20th-century demons at bay, as the epigraph from 1 Samuel suggests: "Seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre: and when the evil spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well." May we all be well, and may Thom Jones play on. --Mary Park

Genre: Literary Fiction

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Used availability for Thom Jones's Cold Snap

Hardback Editions

June 1995 : USA Hardback

Title: Cold Snap: Stories
Author(s): Thom Jones
ISBN: 0-316-47307-3 / 978-0-316-47307-1 (USA edition)
Publisher: Little Brown & Co
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   

Paperback Editions

June 2008 : USA Paperback

Title: Eclipse Dummy Number
Author(s): Meyer
ISBN: 0-316-19004-7 / 978-0-316-19004-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Little Brown Trade Division
Availability: Amazon CA   

July 2000 : UK Paperback

Title: Cold Snap
Author(s): Thom Jones
ISBN: 0-571-17945-2 / 978-0-571-17945-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Faber
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon AU   

May 1996 : UK Paperback

Title: Cold Snap
Author(s): Thom Jones
ISBN: 0-571-17789-1 / 978-0-571-17789-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

June 1996 : USA Paperback

Title: Cold Snap: Stories
Author(s): Thom Jones
ISBN: 0-316-47257-3 / 978-0-316-47257-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Kindle Editions

November 2016 : USA, Canada Kindle edition

Title: Cold Snap: Stories
Author(s): Thom Jones
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA