These stories are abundant proof of Rick Moody's grace as a stylist and a shaper of interior lives. He writes with equal force about the blithe energies of youth ("Boys") and the rueful onset of middle age ("Hawaiian Night"), about midwestern optimists ("Double Zero") and West Coast strategists ("Baggage Carousel"), about visionary exhilaration ("Forecast from the Retail Desk") and delusional catharsis ("Surplus Value Books: Catalog Number 13"). The astounding title story, which has already been reprinted in four different anthologies, is a masterpiece of remembrance and thwarted love.Full of deep feeling and stunningly beautiful language, the stories in Demonology offer the richest pleasures that fiction can afford.
Moody has a predilection for the extended stream of consciousness monologue (sometimes in dialogic form). But he is not wedded to it, and it has the feel of technique rather than empathy. So it is in the stories where he moves away from monologue toward a nuanced close third person that life fills the darker places. Even the easy and (as far as I can tell) proper use of continental philosophical and literary critical terminology that percolates some of the stories seems light and never merely about display or cheap mockery. You’ll see connection, in style and form, to Moody’s successful novels. But I take that as a sign that there is a constant interplay between his work in the short form and that of the longer form narrative. Successfully.
He's definitely not for everyone -- and I don't mean that in a "I'm smart enough to get it" way. If you can get through the misfires, the ones that hit, hit hard.