The Black Veil: A Memoir with Digressions

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9780316578998: The Black Veil: A Memoir with Digressions

In his early 20s, a lifetime of excess left Rick Moody suddenly stranded in a depression so profound that he feared for his life. A stay in a psychiatric hospital was just the first step out of mental illness. In this astonishingly inventive book, Moody tells the story of his collapse and recovery in an inspired journey through what it means to be young and confused, older and confused, guilty, lost, and healed. Woven through his own story, Moody also traces his familys paternal line, looking for clues to his own melancholyin particular to one ancestor, Reverend Joseph Moody, about whom Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote an archetypal story of shame called The Ministers Black Veil. In a brilliant display that is no less than a literary tour de force, Moody ties past and present, family legend, and serious scholarship into a book that will draw comparisons not just to recent memoirs by Dave Eggers and Martin Amis but to forebears like Nabokovs Speak, Memory.

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Review:

Readers and critics of Rick Moody generally praise the long and lyrical sentences, sarcastic wit, and meandering asides typical of his misunderstood but sensitive protagonists. For Moody fans who have come to appreciate the Holden Caulfieldesque pathos beneath the sense of urgency and big vocabulary in books like The Ice Storm and Demonology, his memoir The Black Veil will offer more of the same. What's different, however, is that this time the protagonist is Moody himself. The book, subtitled A Memoir with Digressions, reads at times like a delicious essay collection outlining Moody's Connecticut childhood (complete with recipes for the perfect lobster roll and significance of the wax bean), and at times like a work of passionate literary criticism. But whether Moody discusses the impact of his parents' divorce, his alcoholic excesses in college and Manhattan, his time at an inpatient psychiatric unit, or his obvious passion for literature, his memoir does what so many current works in this genre do not: it shows the author looking beyond himself, through literature, to a world larger and more spiritual than the one in which he lives.

The titular black veil refers to a Hawthorne story (appended) about a New England minister Moody believes may be a relative. Moody's book is not so much about his quest to research the story of the black veil, despite the trek he makes to Maine to do just that, as it is the account of his personal relationship to that story. While die-hard Moody fans may find the book a surprising departure, those who want to know him more intimately will enjoy accompanying him on this personal and intellectual journey. --Jane Hodges

About the Author:

Rick Moody is the author of Demonology, Purple America, The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven, The Ice Storm, and Garden State, which won the Pushcart Press Editor's Choice Award. He is a past recipient of the Addison Metcalf Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He lives in New York.

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Moody, Rick
Published by Little, Brown and Company 2002-05-01 (2002)
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Book Description Little, Brown and Company 2002-05-01, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0316578991 BRAND NEW. A portion of your purchase of this book will be donated to non-profit organizations. Over 1,000,000 satisfied customers since 1997! We ship daily M-F. Choose expedited shipping (if available) for much faster delivery. Delivery confirmation on all US orders. Bookseller Inventory # Z0316578991ZN

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Book Description Little Brown & Company, New York, NY, U.S.A., 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition, First Printing. New, unread copy, in new, mylar-protected dust jacket. A77. Bookseller Inventory # 6977

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Book Description Little, Brown & Co, Boston, MA, 2002. Soft Cover. Book Condition: New. Advance Reading Copy (ARC). BRAND NEW & COLLECTIBLE. Advance Reading Copy (ARC). A memoir and literary criticism from novelist Hiram Frederick "Rick" Moody III (1961 -), known for The Ice Storm (1994) which was adapted to film. This volume takes its title from Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Minister's Black Veil," which, according to Moody, is based on the true story a Moody ancestor who wore a veil throughout his adult life as penance for having accidentally killed a boyhood friend. Moody alternates between explaining Hawthorne's story, trips to research his colonial-era paternal heritage from Maine graveyards to old diaries, and his own legacy as heir to a melancholic family --- the pained journey of his own life experiences. A thoughtful, sensitive, reflecting memoir intense with self-scrutiny. A lifting of his own black veil. Bookseller Inventory # 013556

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Book Description Little Brown & Co, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. SIGNED on Title Page. 1st Edition. 1st Printing. New copy. Never read. Not price clipped. Not a remainder. Acknowledgments page in the back of book has a small tear. Still a beautiful copy of book and jacket. Collector's Copy. Signed by Author(s). Bookseller Inventory # 000732

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