Let us pause for a moment to give thanks for Rick Moody, literary heir to Thomas Pynchon and—yes—Walt Whitman in this age of winnowed down writing program prose, as compulsively labored as a set of washboard abs.
The Diviners, Moody’s latest offering, is the story of a bunch of strivers, movie people, television execs, yogis, washed-up action film stars and, of course, an ambitious desi cab driver attempting to make an epic television miniseries that begins with the Mongol hordes sweeping into Europe and ends with the founding of Las Vegas. The novel will have you laughing so hard—whether it is the page-long paean to the satori that is the Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut, the hilarious riff on the California “botox party” or another of a dozen mad set pieces—you won’t care that it all fizzles out, leaving you wondering, in the end. Along the way, Moody never stoops to the language of the lowest common denominator. He never bores. And he skewers America’s obsession with the next new thing, the culture-of-the-moment culture, with pinpoint accuracy. So accurate, in fact, that I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of Moody’s loony television ideas—in particular a Desperate Housewives cum Buffy the Vampire Slayer serial billed as The Werewolves of Fairfield County--appearing on real networks next season. Exiles beware: Whitman would have called this one Song of New York.