The Diviners Review
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The Diviners is a different kind of book. It's not your normal summer reading fare, and some of the paragraphs are longer than a James Patterson chapter. The book starts off with nearly a dozen pages describing the sunrise as it crosses the surface of Earth. Not exactly a way to capture the imagination of a deprived attention span audience.

There are at least a dozen main characters here, and Rick Moody crafts each of them into distinct personalities. There's the head of an independent film company who’s addicted to Krispy Kreme, and she’s so large her employees call her Minivan. A Sikh car service driver with a PhD in American television and pop culture. An action film star trying to become a respected producer while sleeping with the entire office. And a bi-polar (I think) bicycle messenger who’s an artist of some fame who dropped out of sight. One of the production assistants is sleeping with the action film star, sister to the disturbed bicycle messenger, and trying to get her screenplay produced. There’s the head of a television network who’s in the middle of a divorce whose daughter won't talk to him. And, by the way, he has a fetish for teenage girls with physical disfigurements. The coke-snorting pop music diva who’s trying to break into dramatic roles is in the cast. The television exec's daughter gets hired by the girls working for Minivan to do nothing except let her dad know where she's working so they can get in to see him about their latest project—but she ends up seducing/dominating Minivan.

  
 
That project is the thing that ties all of these characters—plus the other half dozen that I left out to keep the review short—together. The production company, Means of Production, which Minivan owns, is trying to get funding for what is sure to be a huge project: a miniseries on the scale of Roots about diviners, the people who can use a Y-shaped stick to locate water. The script is an epic that covers dozens of generations, from the Huns charging across the Mongolian plains to conquer Rome to the birth of Las Vegas. The twisted and diverse family tree of diviners is present for almost every major turning point in Western history. The recap of the script is supposed to be delivered (and this takes an entire chapter to play out) to the office of Means of Production, but it’s delivered to an inept talent agent instead. He recognizes that his proverbial ship has finally come in and begins a flurry of excitement and activity that crosses the entire entertainment business. What no one knows is that the book's mini-series is to be based on doesn’t exist. It was dreamed up during drinks and a sexual encounter to cover up for a legitimate book synopsis that’s been lost at the office.

This book does a good job of looking at the soulnessness of America's entertainment industry. It skewers the team-building retreats of corporate America as being nothing more than a time for the executives to attempt sexual liaisons and cut each other's political throats. In the final chapters, Moody also tries to tie in the themes of family love, eco-terrorism, emotional manipulations, and narcissism. He's like a patient who's trying to say something important while the dentist is sticking fingers into his mouth.

The chapters are written from different points of view and change into the voice of the main character for the chapter, so it gets a bit hard to follow at times. But it does show how impressive Moody's writing talents are.

Overall, I'd say that I enjoyed the book and that the pacing does pick up toward the end, as each character comes to their individual climax. It's not at all light reading, though, and it’s not something to pick up if you lean more toward Mitch Albom or John Grisham.

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