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Hoogah-Boogah

James Wolcott: Rick Moody

19 September 2002
The Black Veil 
by Rick Moody.
Faber, 323 pp., £16.99, August 2002, 0 571 20056 7
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... happen when a writer chooses the wrong subject,’ Wilfrid Sheed once observed. ‘First the writer suffers, then the reader, and finally the publisher, all together in a tiny whirlpool of pain.’ RickMoody’s The Black Veil is the latest voyage to the bottom of the sink, a journey of self-discovery jinxed by dense fog and treacherous syntax. Moody is best known for his novels, Garden State ...

What the Public Most Wants to See

Christopher Tayler: Rick Moody

23 February 2006
The Diviners 
by Rick Moody.
Faber, 567 pp., £12.99, January 2006, 0 571 22946 8
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... When he published The Ice Storm in 1994, RickMoody seemed to be looking for a workable compromise between suburban realism and what Gore Vidal once called the ‘Research and Development’ arm of American fiction – the tradition of Thomas Pynchon ...

Following the Fall-Out

Alexander Star: Rick Moody

19 March 1998
Purple America 
by Rick Moody.
Flamingo, 298 pp., £16.99, March 1998, 0 00 225687 8
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... Like much of RickMoody’s previous work, Purple America charts the lives of the ‘slovenly, affluent’ young. It’s not an especially good life. Moody’s characters are distinctly unhappy, unformed, unable to proceed with their lives in anything like a reasonable way. Instead, they gradually succumb to a set of local problems. When the logic of ...

A New Kind of Being

Jenny Turner: Angela Carter

3 November 2016
The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography 
by Edmund Gordon.
Chatto, 544 pp., £25, October 2016, 978 0 7011 8755 2
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... to that of certain men). She sat as a Booker judge – she was the one Selina Scott disgraced herself by failing to recognise – and took residences at Sheffield, UEA, Brown, UT Austin, Adelaide. RickMoody remembered his first encounter with Carter at a creative writing seminar: ‘Some young guy in the back … raised his hand and, with a sort of withering scepticism, asked, “Well, what’s ...

Stifled Truth

Wyatt Mason: Tobias Wolff and fictions of the self

5 February 2004
Old School 
by Tobias Wolff.
Bloomsbury, 195 pp., £12.99, February 2004, 0 7475 6948 7
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... Barth, Robert Coover, Guy Davenport, William Gass, Harry Mathews, Paul Metcalf, Gilbert Sorrentino, Ronald Sukenick and Paul West, as well as their heirs, such as T. Coraghessan Boyle, Lydia Davis, RickMoody, William Vollmann and David Foster Wallace. None of these writers – however popular or influential, however frequently their writing appeared in the Paris Review or Conjunctions or the year ...

Just like Mother

Theo Tait: Richard Yates

6 February 2003
Collected Stories 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 474 pp., £17.99, January 2002, 0 413 77125 3
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Revolutionary Road 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 346 pp., £6.99, February 2001, 0 413 75710 2
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The Easter Parade 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 226 pp., £10, January 2003, 0 413 77202 0
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... These features survive Cheever’s move upmarket to the cultured, moneyed realms of Shady Hill and Bullet Park. They are the staples for John Updike in tennis-and-adultery mode: as they are for RickMoody in The Ice Storm, and even, in a modified form, for Don DeLillo in White Noise. But it was Richard Yates who followed the nightmare of Remsen Park to its logical conclusion: Revolutionary Road ...
18 November 2010
Madame Bovary: Provincial Ways 
by Gustave Flaubert and Lydia Davis.
Penguin, 342 pp., £20, November 2010, 978 1 84614 104 1
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... worldview might become fretful at the necessary self-abnegation; on the other hand, disguising oneself as another writer is an act of the imagination, and perhaps easier for the better writer. So if RickMoody tells us that Lydia Davis is ‘the best prose stylist in America’, and Jonathan Franzen that ‘few writers now working make the words on the page matter more,’ does this make her better ...

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