Thursday, February 05, 2004


Having repeatedly heard of Dale Peck's vicious critical attack on Rick Moody, I decided to read what all the fuss was about. This was prompted by the wishy-washy declaration that Peck provided in last week's Guardian piece: I am going to stop being so mean to my fellow writers, but not before I publish all of my nasty reviews, together for the first time in one handsome volume.

This is the conclusion that I come to: despite never having read anything by Rick Moody, I can tell that Peck's critical standards are far too high. It seems as though he is of the mind that any writer who dares to categorize himself as belonging to literature's upper echelons has a duty to deliver prose that is as intellectually rigorous as Peck no doubt perceives his own to be. He positions himself on the literary high ground, while others grovel beneath him, clueless as to how they can reach his accomplished and esteemed level.

And then he does a complete turnabout. The end of the review has him lauding Moody for being the 'genuine article', or in other words, a 'real writer' Huh?! Why do I get the feeling that he's not talking about Mr. Moody anymore, but rather, waxing poetic about his own fabulous talent, as he spews forth about "being incapable of seeing the world through anything but the prism of metaphor and narrative".

If reading this piece has allowed me to do anything, it's knowing that I'll never voluntarily read anything by either Peck or Moody. The latter, I realize, deserves a break after this particular offering of ├╝ber-snark, but the overlord of literary criticism has ruined it for me.

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