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Garden State: A Novel Paperback – 2 Apr 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; 1st Back Bay Ed edition (2 April 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316557633
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316557634
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.6 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,118,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

A superb collection of short stories by the young American author of THE ICE STORM. Whether wondering what would have happened if James Dean had survived his car wreck and anonymously joined a garage band for the Sixties, or tracking the desperate lives of East Village refugees. Moody writes with rare empathy and profound sensitivity. (ESQUIRE)

Rick Moody's short takes are mood pieces. He paints word picture of the everyday American nightmare somewhere between Hopper and Rauschenberg. These shards of inconsequential living are nicely constructed, elegantly and wittily written... A clever chap, Mo (THE TIMES)

Moody gives us a fascinating study of alienation in American society... Hauntingly written and atmospheric. (GAY TIMES) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

*Darkly erotic stories by the author of THE ICE STORM. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
Drizzle coated Haledon, N.J., with a sad, ruinous sheen. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rose Hoare on 10 Feb. 2003
Format: Paperback
This unprepossessing novel plunged me into a mid-20s crisis. How tragic and how common it is to lose your way, like these characters, and fail to live up to the potential your schoolteachers crowed about! How nice it is to wallow in self-pity and angst, fuelled by a narrative as elegant as Garden State!
With a dense, poetic voice, and a plot that sort of boils up from within its New Jersey setting and then recedes again, this novel takes its time to settle into a rhythm, but is insidiously fascinating once it does. We don't expect much from any of these characters, and they don't seem to expect much from themselves either.
The confessional tone established by Moody's foreword adds a nice sense of immediacy.
Although it seems self-indulgent at first, with its emphasis on a set of characters who are miserable, bored, self-obsessed and self-destructive, it's an absorbing read, if you can relate their disenchantment to your own.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Aug. 1997
Format: Paperback
Upon picking up Rick Moody's Garden State,one might think it to be representative of the current trend of hip fiction: rife with drugs, sex, profane dialogue,and stark prose. As it happens it has all of these but the last; Moody's writing is dense and wordy, more so than the subject matter seems to merit. At times I had to read passages two or three times to understand what was going on- sticky metaphors are used in places where a more straightforward narrative might have been more elegant.
Moody spins a trendily downbeat tale, with angstful and interchangeable twenty-somethings desperately spinning through prettily rendered New Jersey wastelands, going nowhere in particular. Characters drift in and out of the different plots- among them the saga of a floundering rock band and the homecoming of an unbalanced prodigal son- which always seem about to converge but never quite do. Three-quarters of the way through the book I was unsure where the book was going, and by the end I didn't care. Vivid imagery can only go so far: Rick Moody can write, but in Garden State he has written something I didn't care to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. W. Mcconnell on 21 April 2006
Format: Paperback
The plot of this book is as thin as a butterfly wing, but that doesn't detract from how good it is. I think this book will only be dearly loved by those that feel anything in their own lives has mirrored those of the characters.

Twenty-something failures that didn't 'make it big' on all their old teenage dreams. Apparently Moody has basically disowned this book, which I feel sad about because I picked this book off the shelf by chance, and was mesmerised by the beautiful use of language in a story that has no real heroes. Just people trying to get on with their lives.

I've read this book 5 times now, because Moody's writing is almost poetic in his use of alliteration, simile and metaphor. If T S Eliot had written a book about burned out young adults in Hoboken New Jersey, I think it would have turned out a lot like this book.
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Format: Paperback
"The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven" is a precursor of Moody's later short story collection "Demonology" (2001)- personally I think the later collection is superior, but there is much here that is great. The 11 short pieces here were issued in this collection in 1995- following the success of Moody's second novel "The Ice Storm"; several of them had previously appeared in such publications as Esquire, Harper's & The Paris Review.
The title story is more of a novella than a short story & is a work that should be enjoyed by anyone who has read Moody's debut work "Garden State". "The James Dean Garage Band" is another highlight- while the opening story "The Preliminary Notes" plays with form. Another highlight is the post-modern annotation "Primary Sources"- which stylistically was continued in both "Demonology" & "The Black Veil"- Hawthorne listed here shows the origin of the latter title. Here we see how Moody relates his personal life to literature& we get intrigueing comments on Angela Carter, The Feelies, 'A Lover's Discourse', Borges, Lester Bangs, StarTrekTNG, Denis Johnson's Angels, Arvo Part, Sebadoh & William Carlos Williams: I'd love a whole book like this (though I'm not sure anyone else would). This collection should appeal to anyone who has enjoyed Moody's novels Garden State, The Ice Storm & Purple America- the short story a great form where a lot of the longer works originate from. Worth a read- up there with short works from Denis Johnson, David Gates & Russell Banks.
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By A Customer on 20 Nov. 1997
Format: Paperback
One of the best things about 'discovering' a wonderful writer is reading everything else they've published, not just the one you liked first. Garden State is Moody's first novel. It's a messy story about a (thank God) vanished time. It was really interesting to read, because his subsequent writing just gets better and better. It's bound by a plot at once complicated and sublimely simple. The several main characters, basically nice-people male and female twentysomethings in the 'eighties, can't quite 'leave home,' are are often stoned, drunk, or otherwise debilitated. They sleep late, smoke, party, drive around, play music, fret about their moms, (there's a freakish car accident), experience despair, visit the sick, poke through piles of laundry in search of leggings, hang out, wear black nail polish, have desultory sex, and reflect rather thoughtfully on things while spending a month (one of them does this) or so in a pretty nice mental hospital.There is wonderful yearning for meaning and love -- also oblivion and ecstasy. The whole thing takes place in NJ, which is also used as a symbol of -- something or other. Great sense of place, and a hip sort of warmth and compassion is in there, too. This novel is strange, a little bit difficult to love, but worth the trouble.
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