The Four Fingers of Death by Rick Moody
A Novel

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Given the Quality Lit ambitions Moody bared in The Ice Storm and Purple America, a loyal reader might expect a book of this heft to amount to a dense experimental fiction or a Vonnegutian exercise in wild satire. Rather, it reads as an epic prank.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

Montese Crandall is a downtrodden writer whose rare collection of baseball cards won't sustain him, financially or emotionally, through the grave illness of his wife. Luckily, he swindles himself a job churning out a novelization of the 2025 remake of a 1963 horror classic, "The Crawling Hand." Crandall tells therein of the United States, in a bid to regain global eminence, launching at last its doomed manned mission to the desolation of Mars. Three space pods with nine Americans on board travel three months, expecting to spend three years as the planet's first colonists. When a secret mission to retrieve a flesh-eating bacterium for use in bio-warfare is uncovered, mayhem ensues.

Only a lonely human arm (missing its middle finger) returns to earth, crash-landing in the vast Sonoran Desert of Arizona. The arm may hold the secret to reanimation or it may simply be an infectious killing machine. In the ensuing days, it crawls through the heartbroken wasteland of a civilization at its breaking point, economically and culturally--a dystopia of lowlife, emigration from America, and laughable lifestyle alternatives.

The Four Fingers of Death is a stunningly inventive, sometimes hilarious, monumental novel. It will delight admirers of comic masterpieces like Slaughterhouse-Five, The Crying of Lot 49, and Catch-22.
 

About Rick Moody

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Novelist Rick Moody was born in Fairfield, Connecticut in 1962. His works often demonstrate the concept that money makes no difference in the problems people face. His first novel, Garden State, won Pushcart's Tenth Annual Editor's Book Award. The Ice Storm (1994) was adapted into the 1997 film starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver. He was named one of Entertainment Weekly's top 100 creative people the same year. He has also won the Addison Metcalf Award and has received a Guggenheim Fellowship. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.
 
Published July 8, 2010 by Little, Brown and Company. 746 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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National Post arts

Below average
Reviewed by Troy Patterson on Nov 19 2010

Given the Quality Lit ambitions Moody bared in The Ice Storm and Purple America, a loyal reader might expect a book of this heft to amount to a dense experimental fiction or a Vonnegutian exercise in wild satire. Rather, it reads as an epic prank.

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