book cover of The Pugilist at Rest

The Pugilist at Rest

(1993)
A collection of stories by

 
 
Awards
National Book Award for Fiction Best Book (nominee)
Thom Jones's first collection of stories is a revelation. In prose that sounds like nobody else, Jones channels a variety of distinctively different voices, from the lustful book editor of "Unchain My Heart" to the epileptic, amnesiac adman of the Dostoevskian fable "A White Horse." There's not a miss among these tales, but two in particular stand out: the title story, about a boxer and Vietnam vet who has plumbed the vicious depths of his own soul, and the almost unbearably intense chronicle of a woman fighting a losing battle with cancer, "I Want to Live!" "The world is replete with badness," says the aging fighter of "A Pugilist at Rest"; yet, as the narrator of "I Want to Live!" discovers, there is nothing stronger than the human will to go on, to persist--even in the face of the hell that exists right here on earth. It's not all gloom, doom, and napalm, however. There's also the surreal, Gogol-esque humor of "The Black Lights," in which the pysch-ward protagonist insists his only problem is epilepsy, yet hallucinates a giant, shuddering rabbit caught under his bed at night ("It's that rabbit on the Br'er Rabbit molasses jar. That rabbit with buckles on his shoes! Bow tie. Yaller teeth! Yaller! Yaller!") Then, too, Jones creates images of startling, surreal clarity amid the horror, like the dying lieutenant who remains on one knee even after being shot, "his remaining arm extended out to the enemy, palm upward in the soulful, heartrending gesture of Al Jolson doing a rendition of 'Mammy.'" Take a decidedly grim world-view, add a dose of existential slapstick, some Schopenhauer, an encyclopedic knowledge of pharmaceuticals, and a soundtrack by the Doors, and you have what may be the darkest, funniest, most urgent fictional debut in years. --Mary Park



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Used availability for Thom Jones's The Pugilist at Rest

Hardback Editions

April 1994 : UK Hardback

Title: The Pugilist at Rest
Author(s): Thom Jones
ISBN: 0-571-17134-6 / 978-0-571-17134-7 (UK edition)
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


June 1993 : USA Hardback
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Title: The Pugilist at Rest: Stories
Author(s): Thom Jones
ISBN: 0-316-47302-2 / 978-0-316-47302-6 (USA edition)
Publisher: Little Brown
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Paperback Editions

July 2018 : UK Paperback
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Title: The Pugilist at Rest: and other stories
Author(s): Thom Jones
ISBN: 0-571-34212-4 / 978-0-571-34212-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


March 1995 : UK Paperback
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Title: The Pugilist at Rest: and other stories
Author(s): Thom Jones
ISBN: 0-571-17135-4 / 978-0-571-17135-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


May 1994 : USA Paperback
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Title: The Pugilist at Rest: Stories
Author(s): Thom Jones
ISBN: 0-316-47304-9 / 978-0-316-47304-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

November 2016 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: The Pugilist at Rest: Stories
Author(s): Thom Jones
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA