The Pugilist At Rest
Always loved short stories, and the late Thom Jones' debut collection is still the best.
With the highs and lows of a bipolar second-grader on a late night candy binge, his stories scream: Boxing. Vietname War. PTSD. Madness. Gran mal seizures, Paul on the Road to Damascus. The I-Ching.
His style? Anything BUT minimal. In fact, I've never encountered short stories so stuffed to the seams. Yet they all work.
It's the Voice (Bene Gesserit, of course)
Thom Jones' Voice is so willful and angelic and tragic all at once.
An absolute must read. Here's a full review of the Pugilist at Rest that I wrote for VICE.
Also check out Joyce Carol Oats' tribute following Thom's death in 2016.
FInal note: I searched for years trying to contact Thom, then in 2017 I sent my VICE review of the book to a friend by way of recomendation, and in the comments following my article (a few years after I'd written the review) I saw that Thom left 2 Facebook comments thanking me and asking for my address. Not long after he passed away.
Devastated doesn't begin to describe how I felt.
Devastated that I was too late to respond... yet grateful that he read and appreciated the review.
Wherever you are Thom, I hope you're giving em hell