Following his celebrated debut collection, The Pugilist at Rest, National Book Award nominee Thom Jones delivers a lacerating collection of stories that plunges us once again into an edgy, adrenalized world of desire, mania, and rage. In ten new stories, Jones introduces us to hard-luck fighters steeling themselves for battles they've already lost, doctors who fall in love with their illnesses, and a strung-out advertising writer who uses the hand of the devil to do the work of God. At the end of the day, the only ones still standing have gone head-to-head with the world's brutality--and remain ready, hopelessly potent yet irreversibly doomed, to battle all over again. Thom Jones has a wicked appetite for existential calamity and unflagging humor in its presence; his writing is mesmerizing, sometimes fevered, and impossible to put down. Cold Snap resoundingly confirms what thousands already know: Thom Jones is here to stay.
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.