A Moody Fellow Finds Love and Then Dies

Douglas Watson. Outpost 19 (www.outpost19.com), $16 trade paper (170p) ISBN 978-1-937402-62-4
The mystery of how the main character will die, and with whom he will find love, propels Watson's brisk, clever take on the coming-of-age debut novel. The tale embraces the absurdist, the satirical, and the metafictional, but at its core is a charming story about a boy who "just needed to…start walking on the face of the earth instead of tiptoeing along a few inches above it." The protagonist, Moody Fellow, is unlucky in love and not really "cut out for the world as we know it." At college, Moody meets Amanda, an orphaned girl from "the tundra" who is an actual femme fatale; she is so beautiful that birds and humans drop dead at her feet in "tribute." Amanda recruits the smitten Moody to improvise music during one of her risque performance art pieces at a gallery that will witness the birth of a revolutionary movement, New Cubism. Watson gently lampoons experimental art while having fun with narrative conventions. But the novel is not without a potentially grating cutesiness—a therapist named Dr. Love, a waitress whose fascinating life can't be narrated because of a contractual dispute, an "exit interview" with Moody dealing with his shortcomings as a hero—but ultimately its oddities prove more entertaining than wearisome. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/21/2014
Release date: 04/01/2014
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