by Rick Moody

Paper Book, 2001





London : Faber, 2001.


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.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Hagelstein
The stories in this collection carry a sense of loss and non-sappy nostalgia wrapped in a wicked sense of humor. "The Mansion on the Hill", "Double Zero", "The Carnival Tradition" and "Demonology" are strikingly good. Some of the more experimental ones are difficult to penetrate.
LibraryThing member hayduke
From the author of The Ice Storm comes this extraordinary collection of short stories. Maybe some folks would call Rick Moody a "writer's writer", but I just think he's a genius with words. He strings together phrases so effortlessly and by the time you've reached the end of a story you feel the cumulative effect like a punch in the gut (in a good way.)… (more)
LibraryThing member jbushnell
A frustratingly uneven collection, containing one story which I'd consider to be a modern classic ('Demonology') and one story so torturously overwritten as to be unreadable ('Pan's Fair Throng'). Sometimes I found myself suppressing the feeling that these stories exist primarily as an excuse to showboat, that they're really more about Moody as a stylist than they are about the people they are ostensibly about. In this way the book ends up reminding me of the Coen Brothers movies: inventive, flashy, often entertaining, but with little sense of human urgency.… (more)
LibraryThing member EdwardC
Moody and his postmodern cohorts have more in common with Charles Dickens then any 20th century writer I could name. Sure, there's Pynchon, Gaddis, Barthelme, but those writer lack the sheer love of humanity that shines out this book by Moody.
LibraryThing member RandyMetcalfe
For the novelist, the short story form is often an outlet for momentary inspiration, development of technique, display, and burlesque. But for a writer as talented as Rick Moody, these short forms are more like gems, finely cut, delicately set, polished in the extreme. The range across these thirteen stories is breathtaking. How does the same author who writes, “Surplus Value Books,” or “Wilkie Fahnstock,” also write, “The Double Zero,” or “Demonology”? There is a feast of language, insight, acute observation, and silliness available here. Of course the “silliness” is actually in service of a larger ironic, often sadder, end. But that doesn’t stop those stories being fun (at times). And indeed a certain playfulness is present even in the saddest of these stories.

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.

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LibraryThing member verenka
Finished the book on my way home from the UK. I found most of the stories intriguing. I need to find out more about the author, I'd like to read a novel (if he published one). I noticed that there were a couple of recurring topics in the stories (car accidents while driving under the influence, alienation of family members) and I would be interested to find out what he'd do with that in a novel.… (more)
LibraryThing member evanroskos
after having read The Ice Storm and Garden State many moons ago (the late 90s), I had lost track of Rick Moody. Not that he went anywhere. I even have a copy of Purple America that I have never read. But I just never found myself drawn back to him. Recently I had to read Demonology for a class and also had the chance to meet Moody at a reading. I have fallen into his post-Ice Storm work with much enthusiasm. It doesn't always work ("Hawaiian Night" is conceptually interesting but almost too dense to figure out; "Wilkie Fahnstock" seems like one of those ideas that probably shouldn't have made it to the page), but when it does, I am enthralled ("Mansion on the Hill," "Forecast from the Retail Desk," "The Carnival Tradition," "Boys," and of course "Demonology."

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.
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