During one month in the autumn of election year 200, scores of movie-business strivers are focused on one goal: getting a piece of an elusive, but surely huge, television saga. The one that opens with Huns sweeping through Mongolia and closes with a Mormon diviner in the Las Vegas desert; the sure-to-please-everyone multigenerational TV miniseries about diviners, those miracle workers who bring water to perpetually thirsty (and hungry and love-starved) humankind. Among the wannabes: Vanessa Meandro, hot-tempered head of Means of Production, and indie film company; her harried and varied staff; a Sikh cab driver, promoted to the office of theory and practice of TV; a bipolar bicycle messenger, who makes a fateful mis-delivery; two celebrity publicists, the Vanderbilt girls; a thriller writer who gives Botox parties; the daughter of a L.A. big-shot, who is hired to fetch Vanessas Krispy Kremes and more; a word man who coined the phrase inspired by a true story; and a supreme court justice who wants to write the script. A few true artists surface in the course of Moodys rollicking but intricately woven novel, and real emotion eventually blossoms for most of Vanessas staff at Means of Production, even herself. The Diviners is a cautionary tale about pointless ambition; a richly detailed look at the interlocking worlds of money, politics, addiction, sex, work, and family in modern America; and a masterpiece of comedy that will bring Rick Moody to still higher levels of appreciation. QUOTES A spirited, side-splitting romp through the scorpion-ridden wastes of U.S. showbizcool, hip and wickedly funnyA prodigiously talented writer, Moody offers a multitude of pleasures. His edgy prose is superb; his comedic talent raises, at a bare minimum, a giggle a page; his immersion in popular culture never compromises an acute, acerbic intelligence. Globe and Mail (reviewed by Guy Vanderhaeghe) A hugely entertaining social satire, The Diviners represents a real change for the writer, at least in tonethough he wasnt making any special effort to be more accessible, he has done just that.The book has such a lyrical, musical quality that its like an easy-to-read Finnegans Wake. Calgary Herald A rollicking novel about the interlocking worlds of entertainment, money and politics.The cast is huge and colourful, and the summing-up of a confused era is reminiscent of Jonathan Franzens The Corrections.
Let it be said that Moody never suffered for want of ambition. Ostensibly about the exploits of Vanessa "Minivan" Meandro;an overweight, pathologically cruel film-and-television producer, and her attempts to produce a 13-part miniseries about diviners;Moody's latest tome follows the tangentially connected stories of at least a dozen characters around the time of the 2000 election recount. Vanessa has no idea who authored the treatment or the novel the miniseries is supposedly based on; her accountant absconds with her production company's funds; her mother suffers delusions brought on by nonstop drinking. Meanwhile, a second-rate action film star is making demands, a television executive has a perversion for young, handicapped girls and a bike messenger may have murdered the gallery curator who touted his art as genius. The point: if Hollywood is a vision factory, these are its false diviners. They are all very well drawn (and the list goes on). But there's more: the portentous first chapter (which indulges in 11 pages of inert descriptions of the sun rising at every point across the globe), the book's end-of-Clinton-era setting and its relentless dissection of L.A.'s capitalist fantasy mentality reach toward summative critique of an era � la The Corrections. But Moody ends up having more to say about narcissism in its infinite vicissitudes than he does about its effects. Major ad/promo. (Sept.)
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Back Bay Books
January 01, 2007
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