NPR Books, March 21, 2012
“There’s something about a naive apprehension of art that makes it that much nobler to me,” Rick Moody observes in “Two Weeks at Music Camp,” one of 13 essays collected inOn Celestial Music. He’s at an artist colony, listening to the history of a few sculptures — and finding himself profoundly indifferent. “I care about the work,” he writes, not its origins.
But if you care about the work, you can’t help but examine its background and try to make sense of its technique. Partly because art stimulates the mind, and partly because people like to share what turns them on. And so, in this book, Moody — the novelist, but also sometime musician (he wrestles with this identification in these pages) and voracious listener — goes all in. So much so that his sheer interpretive doggedness — on full display in his essays on Wilco, Peter Townshend and the Magnetic Fields — might exhaust rather than pique the reader’s interest.