Joshua Nomen-Mutatio's Reviews > Black Veil: A Memoir with Digressions

Black Veil by Rick Moody
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's review
Aug 21, 2008

did not like it
bookshelves: biography-and-or-autobiography
Read in November, 2007

Rick Moody has moments, these brief little flashes of great prose. However the overviews of most of his stories and novels tend to be far less appealing, to put it kindly.

I literally threw this book across the room once I got to the final string of paragraphs which are merely a list of things that are black.

"I oughtta punch you in the face!"
-Upright Citizens Brigade

EDIT: Ok, this book wasn't so terrible. The way it ended though just drives me up the wall. He goes from describing his sister's tragic death to this evasive, meaningless (and frankly cowardly the more I thnk about it) stylistic wankery in the blink of an eye and ends the fucking memoir ("with digressions" lest we forget) on this sour, meaningless note. Argh!

The only passage I can really think of that hit me squarely in the gut—the place I want to be hit while trying to step inside a autobiographer's skin—is when he describes his Christmas time visit to his family. The visit that results in him having some sort of psychological breakdown seemingly brought on by nothing besides the possible causal culprit of his protracted descent into alcoholism. The descriptions of his desperation and embarrassment and inability to enjoy the festivities all while hidden, terrified and despairing thoughts ricocheted 'round his head was sharp and about as sincere as his recounting of his life (w/digressions) can be seen through this opaque "veil". I just wish more of the book had maintained this quality.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Jimmy (last edited Sep 07, 2008 02:32AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jimmy I agree. He does that utilize the same stylistic, repetitious rant thing at the beginning of the Diviners (his last novel). It seemed more functional as an opener, but in the case of the Black Veil I think it ruined an otherwise successful experiment with the autobiographical form. That's the thing that kills me about Moody though. There is always one bad choice he makes when constructing most of his novels. It's funny that you mention the way in which his short stories always seem to be teetering on the brink of climax. At times it just feels like there is something missing from his novels. Also, he really doesn't need to point out that any single book of his will contain digressions. I think that anyone who has even read a paragraph by Moody is familiar with that.

message 2: by Krok Zero (new)

Krok Zero You know what this review needed more of? Digressions.

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