Rick Moody's Four Fingers of Death

Since I’m privy to a lot of news about new books, and since I try to mention a number of these new books on this blog, I’ve decided it’s worthwhile to keep a curated list of new releases that I find interesting. Hence, Interesting New Books — 2010.

The latest title added to that list is Rick Moody’s new novel, The Four Fingers of Death, publishing July 28. It is, as they say, a brick, coming in at 736 pages.

It is also extremely weird, involving a Mars colony and a murderous severed hand.

For what it’s worth, the Publishers Weekly review (available at the Amazon link) was a pretty vicious pan. Booklist (also at Amazon) is more positive.

And here’s another review, a lengthy one (with spoilers) that starts like this:

Four Fingers Of Death starts with a dedication to Kurt Vonnegut, who died while Moody was working on the novel. And the Vonnegut influence looms large, both in the story and in its telling. It’s the year 2025, and the NAFTA bloc has fallen into such a perilous decline that we barely have an economy or a functioning society any longer, and we’re at the mercy of the much more powerful Sino-Indian economic bloc. A failed writer, Montese Crandall, wins the rights to novelize a trashy science fiction movie called The Four Fingers Of Death, in a chess game. The bulk of Moody’s 700-plus page book consists of Crandall’s sprawling novelization of this 2025 film, which is a remake of the 1963 classic The Crawling Hand.


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O how eager I am to read this one–it sounds loopily beautiful and sad and completely hilarious and crazy! Mr. Moody, you may have cracked it wide open…

Never read any Moody, honestly his previous work didnt look exciting to me. This one is sufficiently bizarre to pique my interest though, so I will probably pick it up.

I struggled through the book. I read a great deal. I like to read. I’ve read many a quirky science fiction tome. I am used to reading a hundred pages or more before a plot thickens…

This book should never have been published or maybe it should have been edited, or maybe edited and never published. Either way it is a 3 pager and by that I mean scan something off every third page and you’ll keep track of enough of the story. Then abandon reading the book about 40 pages from the end… as really reading it page by page is exhausting and there is no payoff for your effort. surely there were two or three other authors’ efforts that would have consumed the resources (paper) used to put this book out to better effect…

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