Rick Moody's novels have earned him a reputation as a "breathtaking" writer (The New York Times) and "a writer of immense gifts" (The San Francisco Examiner). His remarkable short stories have led both the New Yorker and Harpers to single him out as one of the most original and admired voices in a generation.
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 deepest pleasures that fiction can afford.
Sending wry, heartbroken characters across the slightly tilted landscapes of his fiction, Moody fosters a low-grade bemusement in the 13 stories collected here. "The Mansion on the Hill," the first and perhaps the best, follows the adventures of narrator Andrew Wakefield as he tries to come to terms with his sister's death--she was killed in a car accident just before her wedding. Coincidentally finding himself employed at a ritzy wedding-planning business, Andrew alternates memories of the past with clunky product-speak descriptions of his job. The death of a sister is the theme of the title story, too, a tale Moody confesses at the end is hardly fictional at all, echoing in his fervent first-person declarations the nonfiction stylings of Dave Eggers. First published in McSweeney's, "The Double Zero," another of Moody's stories, describes the humorous failure of a family ostrich ranch. In "Carousel," an aging, low-level Hollywood actress muses on the metaphysics of the movie business and ends up stuck in the middle of a drive-by shooting while waiting at McDonald's to buy orange juice for her daughter ("So why are they here? According to what rationale? Do they even have juice at McDonald's?"). Moody's self-conscious prose strains for hyper-modern colloquial detachment, but too often misses its mark, clanging just off-key.