Cold Snap: Stories

Thom Jones, Author
Thom Jones, Author Little Brown and Company $19.95 (228p) ISBN 978-0-316-47307-1
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-316-47257-9
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-571-17945-9
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Offering 10 stories reprinted from magazines like the New Yorker and Playboy, Jones's second collection of short fiction displays the gritty, fatalistic vision and narrative adrenaline that distinguished his NBA-nominated The Pugilist at Rest. Set in Africa, the West Coast and other locales, these tales are teeming slices of life, full of unexpected pathos and black humor amid imagery of warfare, starvation, disease and decay. Jones's most vivid heroes--star-crossed doctors and loners, battling manic episodes and self-destructive behavior--decamp to Africa to escape dismal lives at home or return home from Africa in antisocial states. In the title story, a manic depressive doctor, stripped of his license, just back from a stint in Nairobi with Global Aid, spends two days with his lobotomized younger sister--visiting the zoo, watching TV and chatting with Jehovah's Witnesses. In ``Superman, My Son,'' a supermarket magnate, beleaguered by debt, pays a visit to his son--a larger-than-life, born-again manic depressive with a superman complex. ``Quicksand'' chronicles the unlikely dalliance between a gonzo copywriter for Global Aid, who suffers from malaria and a broken thumb, and a gorgeous Danish doctor travelling from Rwanda to Zaire. The hardwon epiphanies of these embattled individuals make horrifyingly clear the legacy of warfare in the developing world and the everyday tragedies of contemporary America. (June)
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