The Ice Storm by Rick Moody – a literary mixtape

I loved The Ice Storm by Rick Moody. It’s a brutal, sad story.

There’s not much to like about the characters but there’s lots to like in Moody’s words. This book was extremely visual for me – perhaps because I saw Ang Lee’s insanely good movie version of the story years ago, or perhaps it’s because Moody has created a distinct sense of place and time. Either way, writing a review wasn’t working so I’ve gone with an audio approach.

I Write the Songs / Barry Manilow

Once his dreams had been songs. He’d been a balladeer of promise and opportunity.

I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind of Thing / Pet Shop Boys

He was a swordsman. Janey Williams brought it out in him. Having a mistress was like discovering, as an agnostic, the consolations of religion. It was like caving in and having a stiff drink right at the moment the clock strikes four.

Because the Night / Patti Smith

Desire wasn’t about large breasts in Cross Your Heart brassieres anymore. It was about hunting for comfort.

Puttin’ on the Ritz / Taco

Hood believed in the stolid riders of the New Haven line, those grailing knights, legendary heads of household whose leadership was marked chiefly, though not entirely, by intimidation. Jim Williams, on the other hand, purchased Marimekko place mats. He purchased a water bed and Cadillac sedan. He said ‘far out’ occasionally.

Classic / Adrian Gurvitz

It never did any good to compare your wife to your mistress, because your wife always won, the way classics were better, the way jazz standards had nuances no other songs had. Still, those pop ditties of the moment could sometimes get stuck in Hood’s head.

One of Us / ABBA

It broke his heart in the end how she kept listening and listening and he kept saying things he didn’t want to say.

Bad Boys / Wham

…Mike and Sandy hated each other. Wendy knew already how boys fought when they were close. They fought the way families fought. The explosions and the affections came out of the same place.

Get It On / T-Rex

“What do you think we’re doing, Dad?” she said
“What do I think? I think you’re probably touching each other. I think you’re touching that reckless little jerkoff, for God’s sake, and I think he’s trying to get into your slacks. I think at fourteen goddam years of age, that you’re getting ready to give up your girlhood. And I can’t believe my eyes…”

I Say Nothing / Voice of the Beehive

When he smiles, the effect was almost always lewd. It was getting hard to locate her affection in the midst of all this noise and dissolution and thoughtlessness, but she liked him sometimes anyway. It was hard to live next to someone and not come up with a little respect.

Come Undone / Robbie Williams

She knew that if she ever suffered a real and debilitating mental illness, its onset would not be the result of a failed marriage or because of twentieth-century spiritual impoverishment; it would be caused instead by these details, by a pen mark on the designer pantsuit she’d bought for the holidays, by the slight warp in her Paul Simon album, or by the acrid taste of old ice cubes. These small things led to a bottomless pit of loneliness beside which even Cambodia paled.

Let’s Go All the Way / Sly Fox

The key party proceeded as flawlessly as a bank line.

Unwritten / Natasha Bedingfield

He stood awkwardly there. And then he turned toward the kids. Wendy and Sandy were facing away, toward the woods, toward the security of fallen trees, plotting the next ten years.

4/5 The perfect urban-drama.

Read The Ice Storm with a Key Party gin cocktail.

5 responses

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