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.
John Jodzio’s entire collection is tremendously funny and well written, every story inventive and a pleasure to read. At each finish, though, there’s a noticeable emptiness. The endings are truncated and unsatisfying, and this is partly because the characters aren’t quite real. They’ve been sacrificed for oddity. In the same way George Saunders’s much praised Tenth of December is limited by being only about morons, Jodzio’s work is limited by being only about freaks involved in freakish events.
The collection crackles with energy, its tales jolting in unexpected directions, pleasingly anarchic — typically short but not flash. You sometimes feel a little woozy after finishing one: Everything is half a bubble out of plumb.
Knockout almost seems to good to be true. The pace is so fast, you barrel through the entire collection in a few days, and yet, the prose and depth of character development leaves an impression typically reserved for longer works. Put another way, each short tale feels more like a novel, even though most are maybe ten pages in length and occur within relatively short spans of time. And, as stated above, Jodzio approaches his subject matter with an acute sense of humor, making stories that should be depressing perversely entertaining.