Vulture

Skip to content, or skip to search.

the take

Rick Moody Hates the Players, Not the Game

Hatchet victim Rick MoodyPhoto: Emma Dodge Hanson/Courtesy of Little, Brown

As part of their honorable campaign to save book-review sections in local newspapers, the National Book Critics Circle is asking notable authors to discuss the importance of book reviews on the organization's blog. The latest writer to defend the art of book criticism is Rick Moody, whose heart may not be totally in it:

As many of you may know, I personally have ample reason to detest that modern institution of deracinated book criticism known as "book reviewing." For this reason: I am widely regarded to have received one of the worst reviews ever written. (I won’t remind you if you didn’t read it or hear about it.) I admit, it’s true, that there are days when I would be happy to blast most of the well-known book reviewers in the United States out into space.


Moody's referring, of course, to Dale Peck's infamous slam of his novel The Black Veil in the New Republic — the review that started "Rick Moody is the worst writer of his generation" and went downhill from there. To his credit, Moody rallies; he hates the players, not the game, and implores editors to remember that "book culture drives American culture." And it takes some guts for a hatchet victim to stick his neck out in defense of the executioners.

Speak Up in Defense of Book Reviews [Critical Mass]