Synopses & Reviews
begins with a cataclysmic vision of New York City after the leveling of 50 square blocks of Manhattan. Four million have died. Albertine, the "street name for the buzz of a lifetime," is a mind-altering drug that sets "The Albertine Notes" in motion. The collection's second novella, "K & K," concerns a lonely young office manager at an insurance agency, where the office suggestion box is yielding unpleasant messages that escalate to a scary pitch.
Ellie Knight-Cameron's responses to these random diatribes illuminate the toll that a lack of self-awareness can take. At the center of "The Omega Force" is a buffoonish former government official in rocky recovery. Dr. "Jamie" Van Deusen is determined to protect his habitat its golf courses (and Bloody Marys), pizza places (and beers) from "dark-complected" foreign nationals. His patriotism and wild imagination are mainly fueled by a fall off the wagon. Only Rick Moody could lead us to feel affection for this man and the other misguided, earnestly striving characters in these alternately unsettling, warm, trio of stories.
"'Heavily influenced by post-9/11 paranoia, Moody's mostly successful trio of novellas pits its wayward characters against conspiracies sometimes entirely imagined. Dr. James Van Deusen, the loquacious, alcoholic, patently unreliable narrator of 'The Omega Force,' relies on his background in a 'cabinet-level agency' and a mass market thriller to unravel a murky plot that, in his hobbled head, involves locals and a group of 'dark-complected' individuals targeting the Plum Island Animal Disease Center. 'K&K,' the weakest of the three, takes the hidden tensions of a small insurance brokerage's office to an absurd level as office manager Ellie Knight-Cameron investigates a string of bizarre anonymous suggestions left in the office's suggestion box. Ellie's obsession isn't quite believable, and the novella ends abruptly, as if Moody gave up on it. 'The Albertine Notes,' the strongest piece in the book, describes a future New York after a dirty bomb destroys much of Manhattan. Kevin Lee fills his reporter's notebook for a story about the new drug of choice, Albertine, which transports users into their most pleasurable memories. Kevin succumbs to Albertine as well, and the layering of hallucination and reality that follows demonstrates why Moody has a reputation as a deft stylist. Two out of three ain't bad. (June)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Moody never puts a foot wrong; he just sends his character down a path that's too well worn. It's his own fault and accomplishment that we've come to expect him to break a new path every time he invites us on a journey." New York Times
"[S]ay what you will about Moody...there's some brilliant stuff here. His chilly, lacerating prose is a seduction." Los Angeles Times
"The unreliable and eccentric characters that so often populate Moody's novels again effectively remind us of the nation's collective hysteria. His convoluted narrative may challenge the patience of some readers, but those who persist will find it rewarding." Library Journal
"[T]he perfect scenario for Moody's particular brand of swaggering wordplay, and he just runs with it." Booklist
"Though Moody stubbornly refuses to make sense, he paradoxically also refuses to alienate his readers, at every turn checking over his shoulder to make sure we're still with him. We can always trust that we'll be in on the joke." San Francisco Chronicle
"[Moody's] subtlest and most darkly comical performance yet....[Q]uite unforgettable." Chicago Tribune
"Right Livelihoods is filled with very funny moments, masterful writing and intelligence. Moody documents our culture at this moment, and seems to caution us against its worst qualities..." San Diego Union-Tribune
"In Right Livelihoods, Moody displays a little of everything....Moody is a master at showing that looking too closely into reality's mirror will reveal a constellations of cracks." Cleveland Plain Dealer
About the Author
Rick Moody is a past recipient of the Addison Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2000 won a Guggenheim Fellowship.