SONNY LISTON WAS A FRIEND OF MINE by Thom Jones; Little, Brown, Inc. 1999

A collection of pulpy tales, most of them dirty—as in the neighborhood tavern with a Rourke character as the bartender. Sonny Liston is a beautifully exercised piece about love and hate and dysfunction. The author’s veteran status also provides for some colorful Vietnam stories which are not written from a victim point of view as much as an insider’s. As in a lot of prose, there is some overwriting and some showing off—but Jones is truly on to something. He feels the world and writes like he’s experienced the playground, parking lot and much better. I didn’t really want to read this—it stared at me as if Liston himself was gonna blacken my eyes. Instead, Jones blackened my mind. Good for him.



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