Sunday, February 10, 2008

Purple America

Title: Purple America
Author: Rick Moody
Backbay Books, 1998 (1997)

I wanted to read Rick Moody because I saw the movie The Ice Storm, based on his novel with the same name, years ago and really dug it. Purple America is set in an affluent suburb of Connecticut and the protagonist is pampered, stuttering drunk Hex Raitliffe who comes home to find he is now the sole caretaker of his MS-ridden mother after her husband has abandoned his post.

The story is rambling and leaves few pauses for breath. Although hilarious at times, reminding me of Jonathan Franzen's poop chase in The Corrections, with its slapstick fall-on-your-ass humor, it is also sad and Moody's style is pretencious bordering on self-ironic which he, surprisingly, manages to turn into an attractive combination. All in all, definitely worth the time and maybe a neck-spasm or two.

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