Modernism Versus Postmodernmisn: Rick Moody's Artistic Battle

| March 26, 2001

The Ineluctable Modality of the Marginal: When He's Hot, Rick Moody Gives Us a Woody, Cornel Bonca, Orange County Weekly
Author Rick Moody hasn't figured out what kind of writer he wants to be, writes Cornel Bonca in the OC Weekly. Critics often place his psychologically realistic novels, such as 'The Ice Storm,' in the camp of older establishment types like John Updike and John Cheever; however, according to Bonca, Moody would 'much prefer the lineage of a faster literary crowd'--namely, David Foster Wallace, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Franzen, and Dave Eggers. Unsure of which tone to strike, Moody vacillates between honest limpid prose and show-offy ironic language ('Look, Mom! I'm being postmodern!'). His battle is evident in 'Demonology,' a new collection of short stories. 'You can see him constantly reaching for 'impressive' effects,' Bonca complains. 'One moment, he's penetrating into brave psychological territory, the next, he's spinning into fancy-pants wordplay and fuck-it ironic posing.' Although Bonca finds Moody's frequent posturing off-putting, he does appreciate his old-fashioned talent for remembering and rendering. 'Lots of good writers have it,' Bonca writes, 'and not all of them are old East Coast WASPs. It's not the fast crowd Moody seems to covet, but it's his.'
--Anjula Razdan
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