I'm glad to see the excitement over the reissue of Joy Williams's The Changeling. But it's frustrating for a cultural historian to see Rick Moody's explanation of the hostility that initially greeted the novel:
The Changeling, which is rich with the arresting improbabilities of magic realism of the folkloric revival (Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber was published about the same time), and with the modernist foreboding of Under the Volcano, would have seemed perfectly legible in 1973 when Gravity’s Rainbow was published, or Gaddis’s JR. But the late 70s, with their punk rock nihilism and their Studio 54 fatuousness, were perhaps not properly situated to understand the variety of challenge. To their shame.
Joy Williams's innovations were regarded as incompetence, unlike the innovations of Gaddis, Pynchon, and Lowry; and Rick Moody blames The Ramones? Hmmm . . . what other cutting-edge Seventies authors were slammed or underappreciated . . . how about Carol Hill? Joanna Russ? Gayl Jones? What in Heaven's name could be responsible for reviewers' uncharitable responses or insufficient attention to such authors? Nihilism and Studio 54 fatuousness? [Image of Dana Carvey in drag, looking smug and saying: "Could it be . . . MISOGYNY?"]