The work of John Jodzio has already made waves across the literary community. Some readers noticed his nimble blending of humor with painful truths reminded them of George Saunders. His creativity and fresh voice reminded others of Wells Tower’s Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned. But with his new collection, Jodzio creates a class of his own.
Knockout is the unified collection of stories that create flawless portraits of deeply flawed figures on the edge of the American Dream. A recovering drug addict gets tricked into stealing a tiger. A man buys a used sex chair from his neighbor. A woman suffering from agoraphobia raises her son completely indoors. An alcoholic runs a bed and breakfast with the son from his deceased wife’s first marriage. These people will admit that their chances have passed them by. These people know they were born on the wrong side of the tracks, and their dreams will remain unreachable, but that doesn’t stop them from dreaming. Yet readers won’t be fooled by the funny premises —Jodzio steers these stories into deeper places, creating a brilliant examination of those on the fringes of modern life.
With its quirky humor, compelling characters, and unexpected sincerity, Knockout by John Jodzio is poised to become his breakout book, drawing a wide readership to this provocative and talented young writer.
A breakout book of short stories that packs a wicked punch . . . These 17 well-crafted tales, most first person, most short, are tight, funny, and bizarre — each is its own absurd world made real . . . Dark, grim, and sardonically funny, Jodzio’s stories stick like gum to the side of your brain and won’t shake loose.
In this collection of fiercely funny and often satirical portraits, Jodzio focuses on the quirkiness of everyday people . . . Jodzio’s clean, quick, biting prose demonstrates a firm grasp of storytelling. He grounds the oddness of each narrative with believable human interactions: poignant moments where characters share meaningful connections.
Knockout is full of memorable outcasts, underdogs, losers, and oddballs — and the wondrously imaginative John Jodzio sets these lonely, alienated souls loose in a darkly absurd world that’s simultaneously humorous, perverse, and moving.
Take a time out to read John Jodzio’s Knockout, you won’t regret it.
Knockout feels like a collection of one’s cherished treasures. There’s the gemstone, the tar-splashed rock, the gold safety pin, the folded note, each story an object that feels imbued with life. John Jodzio has crafted a book that inspires a kind of wistful euphoria, an assembled, precious hoard that demands revisiting and reliving.
We like John Jodzio’s short fiction a lot . . . So it’s probably not surprising that we’re eager to read his latest collection . . .
John Jodzio is a Minneapolis-based short story writer and literary journal darling with a devout following. His compelling tales couple bizarre circumstances with freakishly flawed characters but are emotionally authentic enough to make you wonder if they might be inspired by real life.
With Knockout, his third collection of stories, Minneapolis writer John Jodzio proves his devotion to the form . . . Jodzio has a gift for the wacky compelling premise, and deploys a deceptively casual voice — calling to mind George Saunders — to create screwed-up, deeply sympathetic characters . . . The collection crackles with energy, its tales jolting in unexpected directions.
It’s difficult to write with emotional honesty about the people on the very edge of society, the misfits among misfits. But even when he writes with humor, Jodzio never treats his characters as a joke. He’s a compassionate writer who is refreshingly unafraid to take risks, and his book is, well, a knockout.
Minneapolis writer John Jodzio creates darkly humorous short stories about people on the fringes.
John Jodzio’s short stories are powder kegs of wit, vice, and human frailty . . . Pithy, unrestrained, and entertaining, Jodzio’s prose puts the reader in the headspace of the depraved and managed to evoke empathy for their plights.
Knockout almost seems to good to be true . . . Jodzio’s characters are likable for the sheer fact they are so real, so human. This is a writer in top form, and Knockout is aptly titled.
John Jodzio’s entire collection is tremendously funny and well written, every story inventive and a pleasure to read.