Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine: Stories
Reviewed by Lissa Richardson, Fri., May 19, 2000
Sonny Liston Was a Friend of MineStories
by Thom Jones
Little, Brown & Co., 312 pp., $12.95 (paper)
From risk-taking, highly acclaimed Thom Jones comes another collection that won't lie down. Jones revisits familiar haunts -- the boxing ring, Vietnam, occupational hazards -- revealing an unmerciful and quirkily ugly world. Yet there is a sense of romantic longing in the midst of the hardness. The title story is about a boy with a dream: "Kid Dynamite" wants to box. Instead, he gets hurt and grows up. The last story, a novella titled "You Cheated/You Lied," charts an unlikely love affair between two young people with serious emotional and physical problems. They go to Hawaii, but in paradise, love fails. In the protected familiar world of the doctor's clinic, however, happiness is possible. In one of the most delightful stories, "Mouses," a man loses his job and finds godlike purpose and power in experimenting with mice. Reading Jones is a wild ride, but a necessary one. Everyone should experience the real world like his characters do.