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The Diviners: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Rick Moody
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $8.99
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Sold by: Hachette Book Group

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Book Description

During one month in the autumn of election year 2000, scores of movie-business strivers are focused on one goal: getting a piece of an elusive, but surely huge, television saga, the one that opens with Huns sweeping through Mongolia and closes with a Mormon diviner in the Las Vegas desert; the sure-to-please-everyone multigenerational TV miniseries about diviners, those miracle workers who bring water to perpetually thirsty (and hungry and love-starved) humankind. Among the wannabes: Vanessa Meandro, hot-tempered head of Means of Production, an indie film company; her harried and varied staff; a Sikh cab driver, promoted to the office of -theory and practice of TV; a bipolar bicycle messenger, who makes a fateful mis-delivery; two celebrity publicists, the Vanderbilt girls; a thriller writer who gives Botox parties; the daughter of an L.A. big-shot, who is hired to fetch Vanessa+s Krispy Kremes and more; a word man who coined the phrase--inspired by a true story; and a supreme court justice who wants to write the script.A few true artists surface in the course of Moody's rollicking but intricately woven novel, and real emotion eventually blossoms for most of Vanessa's staff at Means of Production, even herself. THE DIVINERS is a cautionary tale about pointless ambition; a richly detailed look at the interlocking worlds of money, politics, addiction, sex, work, and family in modern America; and a masterpiece of comedy that will bring Rick Moody to a still higher level of appreciation.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Let it be said that Moody never suffered for want of ambition. Ostensibly about the exploits of Vanessa "Minivan" Meandro;an overweight, pathologically cruel film-and-television producer, and her attempts to produce a 13-part miniseries about diviners;Moody's latest tome follows the tangentially connected stories of at least a dozen characters around the time of the 2000 election recount. Vanessa has no idea who authored the treatment or the novel the miniseries is supposedly based on; her accountant absconds with her production company's funds; her mother suffers delusions brought on by nonstop drinking. Meanwhile, a second-rate action film star is making demands, a television executive has a perversion for young, handicapped girls and a bike messenger may have murdered the gallery curator who touted his art as genius. The point: if Hollywood is a vision factory, these are its false diviners. They are all very well drawn (and the list goes on). But there's more: the portentous first chapter (which indulges in 11 pages of inert descriptions of the sun rising at every point across the globe), the book's end-of-Clinton-era setting and its relentless dissection of L.A.'s capitalist fantasy mentality reach toward summative critique of an era à la The Corrections. But Moody ends up having more to say about narcissism in its infinite vicissitudes than he does about its effects. Major ad/promo. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

Moody's latest novel revolves around a proposed mini-series epic that follows generations of a tribe of diviners, from the conquests of the Mongols to the founding of Las Vegas. Unbeknown to the agents and studio executives scrambling for the rights, there's no script, only a synopsis concocted by an office assistant and her lover, a married action-movie star. Meanwhile, a producer's aging alcoholic mother disappears; an accountant embezzles thousands of dollars and goes on the lam; and a schizophrenic bike messenger is falsely accused of attempted murder. Moody's kinetic prose calls to mind Bruce Wagner's kaleidoscopic Hollywood novels, but it lacks Wagner's acerbity and airy humor. One major riff concerns a popular television show about a community of werewolves (and involves a wearisome recounting of camera angles). Moody's novel, like the high-production-value shows it refers to, has an earnest sententiousness that overshadows its well-crafted fluency.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker

Product Details

  • File Size: 888 KB
  • Print Length: 580 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0571229476
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books (September 3, 2007)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SF2WW6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,058,428 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The lights are on... March 22, 2006
By Sirin
But nobody's home.

The Diviners is a monumental, 567 page epic that reaches its clutches far and wide to capture as much about end of Clinton era society as possible. Evidently this is Moody's attempt to write the great social novel along the lines of Franzen's 'Corrections' or Delillo's 'Underworld', both blockbuster successes.

Some problems, however:

The novel starts off with a chapter devoted entirely to a huge, all encompassing scan shot that tracks the sunrise around the world: 'The light that illuminates the world begins in Los Angeles. Begins in darkness, begins in the mountains, begins in empty landscapes, in doubt and remorse.' Huh? Light begins in doubt and remorse? Explain please, but we hear no further about the metaphysical implications of this, for we are thrust in the next sentence in the 'city of shadows' where there are hints of human insignificance and nightmares. No more about these as the next sentence brings in an eruption of spectra.

The attempt is clearly meant to dazzle, to show off Moody's linguistic virtuosity. But I found that this the effect of this vast chapter, which tracks the light around the world, guzzling up whole regional histories: 'Light upon the Nanjing Road, traveling westerly, on buildings of British design, light on the four-story French additions to the neighbourhood,' was to exhaust, rather than invigorate.

This throw everything into the mix and see what happens style continues throughout the book. It very loosely centres around Vanessa Meandro, Krispy Kreme addict and megalomaniac and the miniseries 'The Diviners' which runs from ancient Mongolia to present day Utah.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Of a divided mind about The Diviners January 31, 2006
I'd never read Rick Moody before (very bad of me, I know), but hearing a radio interview with the author piqued my interest and I picked up The Diviners. So I was rather unprepared for the stylistic whirlwind within. Reading Moody is like embarking on what you think is going to be a straightforward bit of Google fact-checking and 45 minutes later you end up reading about echidnas and Paris Hilton and having no idea how you got there.

Several chapters in, however, I began to feel messed with, like a vein of contempt for the reader runs through this work. Watch me! Watch me swoop and dive and tug your emotions and expose your 21st-century wired mind, irrevocably changed in ways you weren't even aware of by the Internet and 24-hour 100-channel TV and cell phones and Ipods and Blackberries.

Then I just felt bored. So many chapters. So many word logjams per chapter. So much the same.

Then I began to get worried for Mr. Moody. I picked up his memoir The Black Veil and found some of his runaway thought patterns, word patterns, as symptomatic of his mental illness. I picked up Garden State, and found in this early work a more-or-less straightforward, conventional narrative.

So I can't quite make up my mind about The Diviners. Is Moody a big enough seller now that he feels he can throw off convention and write however the hell he wants to write and do this show-offy postmodern stylistic acrobatics thing that makes the reader work, yet rewards her with a thrill ride, or are his brilliant, layered ramblings the evidence of an unquiet mind?

Perhaps the more learned can enlighten me. I sort of spaced out during those literary theory lectures in college. But as a reader, I say check out The Diviners for the fireworks, but have your guard up and don't expect to fall in love.
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26 of 36 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A real disappointment September 7, 2005
I am confess to being one of those "The Ice Storm is one of the highlights of 20th century literature" people. But the novel speaks for itself, and Demonology had some terrific moments. The Diviners, however, is not a good book. It is horribly, and unnecessarily, impersonal; the characters come this close to caricature, and it commits the worse fictional sin: it is dull. I would never have thought myself to be one day saying that of a Moody story, let alone a novel. But it is what it is. Stylisitically, it is not very complex,and I have no good or bad feelings about the writing style, though it is perfectly predictable. Every chapter gives a bit more forward motion plot-wise, but wrapped in this long-winded diatribe about the moment to moment actions of a character who you don't get to know because all you get are the physical movements, catalogued. This is subjective, but I can't stand novels about society's vacuity. It's been done so many damn times by now, and the writers who do it are either substandard (Bret Easton Ellis) or popular but boring (DeLillo). This novel has no blood, no guts, and the laughs come pretty cheap. $26 is a lot to plunk down as a means to get to sleep. The public library, which provides a great service, has spent their money for you. Go there for this book, if you must.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When the Mood Strikes January 30, 2006
By Margie
The best thing about any Rick Moody novel is you never know what's going to happen next. He's a brilliant and talented writer. The language he uses is not dense, but vividly descriptive, one of the few authors to really care about how he words his adventures and characters. As for his storytelling - it is unpredictable and something different than boring, generic, typical novels like what's being published everyday. He's creative, funny as hell, and constantly pushing the envelope. Either you hate him or love him, but you do know him. This novel was no disappointment to me. I found myself laughing out loud during the funniest moments - as I've done with certain parts in all his other novels.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Are we there yet?
Never has a novel begun with such a rousing start yet slogged on so interminably to its conclusion. To be sure, Moody is capable of outstanding writing, and of crafting first rate... Read more
Published on May 15, 2012 by Librum
5.0 out of 5 stars An impressionist piece written with a wide pen
I can understand some of the criticisms aimed at this book, because along the way it nearly lost me, very nearly. Read more
Published on December 18, 2011 by John Willoughby
5.0 out of 5 stars Post-postmodernism at its best
This book is a mad rollercoaster ride through contemporary man's pursuit of anything that will fill that internal emptiness that plagues most of us. Read more
Published on June 12, 2011 by Lawrence
3.0 out of 5 stars Would have been far more divine with 200 fewer pages...
I had the opportunity to see Rick Moody do a public reading when he was the writer-in-residence at my college this past spring, and was intrigued enough by the way his droll,... Read more
Published on September 22, 2007 by man_invisible
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and accurate
I almost called it satire, but if you have been anywhere near the film industry, you will realize that it is true. Read more
Published on August 25, 2007 by Verita
5.0 out of 5 stars a simple, lay review of a superb book
My one word to describe THE DIVINERS is "kaleidoscope." THE DIVINERS is kaleidoscopic as Moody takes broken, colorful personalities & reflects them to us, like a mirror in a... Read more
Published on July 3, 2007 by Rhonda K. Bridges
2.0 out of 5 stars Too many characters
I really wanted to like this book, but half way through I found myself just wanting to finish. There were so many characters being developed throughout the novel it became... Read more
Published on March 29, 2007 by mle4
3.0 out of 5 stars Some great writing, but a disappointing ending
"The Diviners" features a rogues gallery to rival Martin Amis at his most misanthropic, who somewhat inexplicably turn to goodness and light at the tail end of the novel. Read more
Published on March 13, 2007 by Mark B. Friedman
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Diviners" is a wild ride.
Reviewed by April Sullivan for Reader Views (2/07)

"The Diviners" is an ambitious full-bodied novel about a varied cast of characters all related in some way to the... Read more
Published on March 2, 2007 by Reader Views
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-written characters
Rick Moody can certainly pen a well-crafted sentence, and his latest novel, The Diviners, is full of these lines, some almost breathtaking. Read more
Published on December 26, 2006 by Armchair Interviews
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More About the Author

I was born in NYC and raised in the CT suburbs. One of my grandfathers was a newspaper publisher and the other a small-town GM dealer. I figure this is a good lineage for a writer. I went to school in Rhode Island, where I worked with some really interesting people, like Angela Carter and John Hawkes. And then I got my MFA from Columbia University in NYC. After school I worked in book publishing in New York, during some lean times. My first novel came out in 1992. Since then, I've been writing mostly. I teach now and then. I got married in 2003, to my girlfriend of many years, Amy. She's working on her MA in decorative arts history. We split our time between Brooklyn and a little island off the coast of CT.


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