Read Moody Food: A Novel by Ray Robertson Online


Inspired by the exploits of ill-fated country-rock visionary Gram Parsons, this mid-60s tale of idealism and escape traces the trials of a fictionalized draft-dodging flower child from the United States to Canada and back. It is the late 1960s in Yorkville, Toronto's hippie ghetto of artists, intellectuals, drunken poets, and would-be rock stars. In this idyllic haven, narInspired by the exploits of ill-fated country-rock visionary Gram Parsons, this mid-60s tale of idealism and escape traces the trials of a fictionalized draft-dodging flower child from the United States to Canada and back. It is the late 1960s in Yorkville, Toronto's hippie ghetto of artists, intellectuals, drunken poets, and would-be rock stars. In this idyllic haven, narrator Bill Hansen, a drummer, meets Thomas Graham, an American musician on the lam from the draft. The two form a band, but even as they revel in music and freedom, Graham is hobbled by another love: a drug habit that becomes his reason for living and, eventually, for dying. Graham's emotional trip and failed, revolutionary life reflect the rise and fall of an entire generation's aspirations....

Title : Moody Food: A Novel
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780977679904
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Moody Food: A Novel Reviews

  • August Bourré
    2018-12-23 09:07

    I didn't like the music in this book. This may sound like a piddling thing, but it's not, really. Ray Robertson writes ecstatically about music, with a gift that's difficult to match outside of Rolling Stone's better moments, and like all such writing, it can make you hear the music in new ways. Or if you're particularly musically literate (as I am—I couldn't tell you how much music I have all totaled, but there's about 54 days of continuous, no-repeat listening on my hard drive, and that doesn't even begin to touch my CD collection, which hit 500 albums before I finished high school) it can make you want to shake the writer out of his blind stupidity. Or it can do both.I can't say I care much for country music. A long, long time ago, there was no such thing. There was just American folk music, what people like to call "roots" music nowadays, and it was a mealy patois of backwoods English doggerel, vaudeville, and slave lament. Then in 1912 a man named Hart Wand, who oddly enough was white, published a song probably written years earlier, called "Dallas Blues," and from that moment on there was the Blues, the rawest, saddest, sweetest sound mankind has ever produced, and there was everything else. A lot of the very early stuff was jug and fiddle and washboard music, but through some musical mitosis a line was drawn; on the white side was Country, and on the black side was Blues. They drifted apart, bluesmen picking up a sophistication worthy of their first real baby, Jazz, and country folk leaning heavily towards a decidedly unsophisticated twang. The two cells bumped into each other once or twice over the years, the one time Country giving birth to its greatest child, Bluegrass, and later the Blues had its second baby, and they called it Rock and Roll. Blues laid low for a while, but its children went out into the world and conquered. Country music died, only to be brought back from the dead in 1954 for the exclusive use of Mr. Johnny Cash. Everything else that calls itself Country Music is the result of stray electrons coursing through nerves that don't yet know the brain won't be taking any more calls. Some of it is beautiful in that plastic-bag-in-the-wind American Beauty kind of way, but mostly it's sad. But Rock and Roll and Bluegrass and all the various other spawn of that 1912 break are a promiscuous bunch, and they've been fucking like rabbits in the meantime, giving us Funk and Soul and Alt Country and Indie Rock and Neo Folk and Hard House and Deep Funk and even the likes of Autechre and Lady Gaga. If you know how to listen, you can trace it all back to 1912. I sound like a total music snob, but then, I kinda am.Given all that, it should come as no surprise that I had some issues with Ray Robertson lavishing his substantial gift, his ability to write about music the way A.S. Byatt writes about art, how she can make you see painting and colours as though you'd gone through life with your eyes sewn shut, on 1966 and a fast-and-loose Gram Parsons analog. As a character, a person inhabiting that time and that place, Thomas Graham just works. He's absurd and over the top and paranoid and charismatic in the right way for his time, and though his disciples are few, they are completely his, when even a year earlier or later, they could not have been. But his music! I just can't buy that The Duckhead Secret Society are making something worth all that fuss.Which is not to say that there isn't any good music in Moody Food. There's lots, and some of it is even Country, and when Ray Robertson taps into that, it's golden. But when Graham hears Sgt. Pepper and accuses Bill of tipping off the Beatles to the Duckhead sound, I stop taking all that gushing seriously. Sgt. Pepper is a great album, it really, really is. It's just not all that deep. As complex, sophisticated, and just plain old good as it is, very little of the Beatles oeuvre actually goes that far beyond the surface. When Robertson writes about Hank Williams or Arthur Crudup, though, he's talking about a simpler music that reaches all the way back, past what our smart monkey brains can understand, to our lizard brain, still ticking over like some ancient diesel engine, powerful, insistent, but dumb. That's the place Graham comes close to touching with the Dream of Pines material. The Interstellar North American Music isn't anything close to that; it's a coked-out fantasy, a fever dream, and while Robertson's ecstasy is more about Bill and Thomas' decline into, well, into something drug-fueled and horrible, it seems almost a shame to waste it on so much delusion.Waste is maybe the wrong word. Moody Food was damned near impossible for me to put down because there was so much life in it. It takes place more than a decade before I was born, so it's not a period I feel much connection with or any nostalgia for, and I certainly can't tell you if Robertson's depiction was all that accurate. I can tell you that it feels right. I can tell you that I enjoyed the hell out of the book, in large part because I had such a desire to fight with Robertson over the music. The best parts of a book aren't always the things that you find beautiful, but can instead be the things that provoke you, that make you want to argue with the text and the writer. Those are often the things that bring me the most pleasure, and I could see myself spending many an hour, drink in hand, having a spirited back and forth about music with Robertson—or any one of his characters. Moody Food is probably the closest I'm going to come, at least until I get around to Gently Down the Stream.

  • Richmond
    2019-01-17 08:54

    Am way fond of this book about an underground Canadian rock band dealing with the Vietnam war, drugs, and making it. This is a Santa Fe Writers Project work. Excellent prose and imagery.

  • Amy
    2019-01-07 09:51

    What a trip! This took forever for me to read, in part because it's nothing like anything I've ever read before, in part because it was so gorgeous that it had to be savored, and in part because it was just crazy. These characters are unforgettable. Buckskin Bill Hansen is one of those narrators, like Holden Caulfield (The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger) and Kincaid Chance (from David James Duncan's The Brothers K) who so perfectly melt into the story but also personify, with stunning clarity, a time and place. And Thomas Graham is music. And Ray Robertson writes it all so beautifully, so heartbreakingly, hilariously, and sadly, that it comes alive. A dream of pines season, a frenzy of overnight songwriting, a roadtrip cross-country. Highly recommended.

  • Savannah
    2019-01-06 09:46

    Moody Food Is a fascinating trip into the land of 1960's Canadian rock, Drugs, and the subcultures that formed around them. It also talks about how Drugs were involved in both the rise and fall of a fictional Rock band and in the personal lives of the players. Of particular note here is the descriptive prose. When I bought this book, it was at a reading in Erie. Sitting in the audience as he read an excerpt from this book, I felt as though I was high along side the Characters. I promptly bought the book and had Robertson sign it, and I wasn't disappointed in the further sensory journeys that are offered. Some are more chaotic (political protest/riot) some are more enthralling (some of the music scenes, or the scenes in the Joshua Dessert), but they still had the power to draw me in. The only downside is that if you are depressed, finishing the novel might be a thing to put off for later, as the ending is depressing- but not any more so than many works of "realistic" fiction.

  • Shawn Buckle
    2019-01-02 11:08

    I grabbed this in a bin when I stopped in at a "going out of business, but not really" bookstore sale. It takes place in Yorkville, Toronto when it was dominated by student hippies not rich, white people. I enjoyed it not so much for its story but for the historical elements - hearing about Toronto in the 60s was interesting and knowing we had our own imitation of Haight-Ashbury was something I didn't know before Moody Food.

  • Erin
    2018-12-17 11:56

    I can't remember why this looked promising on the shelves of Powell's, but it did, I put it on hold, then forced myself to get through it on a few porch reading sunny days. Not necessarially bad, but just been done before in a more engaging way... and hippies from Toronto who turn to hard drugs are no more exciting than americans who did so.

  • Jana
    2018-12-22 13:06

    Descriptions are some of the most powerful I've ever read. Story could be more original, but honestly it didn't matter. The descriptions took hold of you and you began to feel as though you were in the room, immersed in the music, the smoke, the crowd, whatever Robertson was describing. All over breath-taking imagery.

  • Neil Gilbert
    2019-01-06 08:56

    Moody Food was a disjointed, narcotic fueled journey into a dreamy musical abyss. Discovering the movements that shaped the late 60's and early 70's both culturally and musically was interesting. The writing reflected this time period with laid-back style and a slow, easy fall into a swirly haze of brain-dead, world-changing plans.

  • Michele
    2018-12-28 14:53

    entertaining; although, supposed to be loosely based on Gram Parsons...what a sad waste of life...

  • Sylvie
    2019-01-09 11:52

    Not high litt, but very funny and twisted. Not for everyone ... enjoyed the read.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-05 08:09

    just finished this today it was pretty good!