Modernism Versus Postmodernmisn: Rick Moody’s Artistic Battle

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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