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The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven: A Novella and Stories

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  520 ratings  ·  39 reviews
A collection of stories about loneliness. They include "The Preliminary Notes", "The Apocalypse of Bob Paisner", and "Primary Sources". The title piece was awarded the Aga Khan Prize for Best Fiction published in the "Paris Review" during 1994.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 10th 2002 by Back Bay Books (first published 1995)
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Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  520 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Dr Gym Van Coen
Oct 29, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: fans of james dean, fans of garage rock
james dean garage band is the standout
Sep 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Again, one of the masters of specificity...he's a more contemporary (and in my opinion) talented Cheever.
Dec 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, beautiful
Stylistically I love Rick Moody. I love his sentence structure, his word choice, his masterful comma usage, his constant italicizing. He breaks a lot of "rules" of writing (penning an 11-page story without using punctuation, writing a 4-page story that is one sentence long) and it is for this reason, and the occasional heart-stoppingly awesome passage that I keep returning to his work.


This stylistic format is often a hinderance; too showy to create depth of character, too detached to
Brent Legault
Apr 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is a very silly book made sillier still by its yearning to be taken seriously evident on every page. Another problem it has is its obsession with the technology and pop culture of its time, already 20 years old and embarrassing to behold, even by a reader like me who remembers some of it. I imagine a similar story, written in the late 1800's, about a young couple having a telephone installed in their brownstone apartment and the first call they make is to a bicycle shop which they find in a ...more
Carmen Cocar
Nov 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Review to follow soon.
Ralph Palm
Oct 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I once heard the bit Hemingway supposedly wrote about Miller, something about writing about a blowjob as if he invented it. Moody doesn't remind me of Miller, but he reminds me of this line.

Anyway, Moody's noted sympathy for freaks, weirdos and other lost souls would ring truer if he didn't write as if he had discovered them. At every moment it reads as a Christopher Columbus style discovery. Kerouac's menagerie is left standing there holding their Roman candles with a look on their faces that
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Rick Moody is a brilliant writer whose narrators speak in a contemporary vernacular as they conflate past, present and future into tales that read like monologues. He gives voice to the disenfranchised -- the drug and sex addicted, the neglected, the lost -- and, without redeeming them, makes the characters worthy of compassion and remembrance. But the reader pays a price for entering this world as the darkness leaves a mark even on those who view it from afar. My three stars are not for the ...more
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
All the reviews include a "But"! I sure don't know why. These stories are adventurous and well written. I'm glad I read them.
Barbra Ann
Apr 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
Paul Cockeram
My first time through this book was in graduate school before Rick Moody came to the university for a week. He conducted a workshop and gave a reading and never learned to fit in with the students or faculty. The remoteness of Idaho seemed continually to appall him, New York City being fresh in his mind--I suppose--and civilization being his default. Quickly enough the man himself crowded out all my impressions of his work, so when I picked up this collection it was like brand new, and some it ...more
Tiny Pants
Apr 25, 2009 rated it did not like it
No one's more shocked than me that I gave this one star -- I mean, I own nearly every book by the man, have read all the others too, and for many years would have described Moody as one of my favorite authors. Thinking harder though, I guess it's been a few years now since I would have made that claim. And while I am pretty positive I liked The Diviners, I am more than certain I hated this collection.

A few of the pieces ("The Preliminary Notes", "A Good Story") are quite familiar from college
Apr 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Not my favorite, but a good read before bed. The title story is clearly the best. I have to admit that I wanted to read this book because it was by the author that the movie "The Ice Storm" was based on. I was a little disappointed by his style. ESPECIALLY when I found out that he is responsible for Garden State. Maybe I'm prejudice because I hate Zach Braff, but I hated that movie, and hence, the author. Even though I know Hollywood turns good books to crap. Anyway, I'll have to wait and judge ...more
john brydges
Sep 17, 2008 rated it did not like it
The heading of this post offers a little nudge in the way of "What I learned from this book." I can tell you I learned that this book was not worth the $8 used dollars I paid for this used book. I could've bought 8 donuts (the good kind), or I could've sat in a sticky nudey booth for 8 minutes. Instead, I read 1 okay story that went absolutely nowhere. Then it hit me. I don't give a shit about upper middle class white people in the northeast. Yeah, yeah, Ice Storm was good (we're talkin' the ...more
May 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Rent fans
Recommended to Alexandra by: Benjamin Jacobson
Strong prose that focuses on the connections, simple and complex, between all of us. Especially New Yorkers. My favorite piece, The Apocalypse Commentary of Bob Paisner, is a revelatory ramble in which title character interprets his misadventures with drugs and women through the use of select passages in the New Testament. As for the rest of the collection, I am a bit sick of hearing about how poetically destitute the East Village was in the 80s, but this take on the subject is surely one of the ...more
Much better than Demonology. Great writing. Fluid. It flows smoothly like a river on a hot summer day. No rapids. No waterfalls. I can't say the same about the subject matter though. Moody once again explores the warm underbelly of society. Depressing at times- but he always treats his subject matter with respect- and his characters always have a certain dignity about them- no matter how depraved or desperate they become.
Dec 13, 2007 rated it it was ok
Not as good as I'd hoped it would be, this one just failed to really hold my attention.

Worse still, or maybe just strange, I got the distinct feeling reading it that I'd tried to read it before, and either quit or finished, but in such a way that left no real memory.

Maybe goodreads will help me to remember:)
Nov 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These might be some of the best short stories of Moody's I've read yet. Still not "The Four Fingers of Death" by any means, but really good. A few of them get a bit more complicated in form than I really got into, but that's my preference and no reflection on Moody. Regardless, these are some damn good stories.
Aug 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
(2.7/3.0) Structurally experimental, covering your typical gen-x fair. Hyper-detailed but often soulless. Moody's best stories come when he is most averse to risk-- the eponymous novella, "Twister," and "Preliminary Notes" all deserve more than three stars, but their company keep them anchored in the ordinary.
Dan Vinson
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This contains one of my all-time favorite stories, The James Dean Garage Band. Imagine if James Dean didn't die in that car crash, but instead wandered into the desert, and fell into an unsung band looking for another member. Not knowing him from, well, James Dean. By turns kooky and deep, I just reread this and a couple of other great stories here. They stood up quite well!
Oct 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-fiction
I love this collection of short stories because it's the young Rick Moody...the characters are young, punk, urban, troubled and poetic. I actually prefer this stuff to his more polished novels. I'm starting to feel like Moody gets worse and worse as he gets older...or maybe I just get more and more cynical. Could be both.
Nov 06, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: the overly-obserbant and the eerily detached.
Shelves: read-most-of-it
I dunno, I liked it, but not enough to finish the whole thing, which I think speaks for itself. Ok, I am sure you are all rivited by this review... Well, I will say that I especially liked the story "Phrasebook." --His concepts are great, but I'm not so sold on his style.
Dec 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Samantha by: Victoria Miller
Moody generally irritates the hell out of me by depicting Connecticut natives as a generally repressed and emotionally deficient people. I love this book, though, especially for "The Grid," which to this day is my favorite short story about both New York City and making out.
Jan 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
Rick Moody IS the worst writer of his generation. Or ANY generation.
Jan 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Some stories much stronger than others. I found myself skimming in areas. A good look at some of his earlier writing though.
Gin Rickey
Feb 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Some good ones. Most stories go on way past the exhaustion of the conceit. Beautiful at the sentence level, however.
Jan 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
Better than Demonology, but nowhere close to The Ice Storm, TRoBAAH is pretentious, vapid, and not even close to being as clever as it thinks it is.
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Not Really
Shelves: 2015, arc

Pls. read complete thoughts from The Page Walker .
Michaela Wood
Apr 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
Oh God that sucked. It's not even the language - it just my interest was exactly zero. Certain male writers bore me to tears
I enjoyed the novella in this, but I'm not sure the short form is Moody's forte. These stories were pretty weak.
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Rick Moody (born Hiram Frederick Moody, III on October 18, 1961, New York City), is an American novelist and short story writer best known for The Ice Storm (1994), a chronicle of the dissolution of two suburban Connecticut families over Thanksgiving weekend in 1973, which brought widespread acclaim, and became a bestseller; it was later made into a feature film.