Right Livelihoods begins with a cataclysmic vision of New York City after the leveling of 50 square blocks of Manhattan. Four million have died. Albertine, the “street name for the buzz of a lifetime,” is a mind-altering drug that sets The Albertine Notes in motion.
The collection’s second novella, K & K, concerns a lonely young office manager at an insurance agency, where the office suggestion box is yielding unpleasant messages that escalate to a scary pitch. Ellie Knight-Cameron’s responses to these random diatribes illuminate the toll that a lack of self-awareness can take. At the center of The Omega Force is a buffoonish former government official in rocky recovery. Dr. “Jamie” Van Deusen is determined to protect his habitat — its golf courses (and Bloody Marys), pizza places (and beers) from “dark-complected” foreign nationals. His patriotism and wild imagination are mainly fueled by a fall off the wagon. Only Rick Moody could lead us to feel affection for this man and the other misguided, earnestly striving characters in these alternately unsettling, warm, trio of stories.