Dancing to Broken Records — Jack Moody: Book Review

Jack Moody is a writer whom I have become quite fond of. We first crossed paths a few months ago on Twitter, and I have followed his work ever since. ‘Dancing to Broken Records’ is a collection of stories that are little vignettes that show the underbelly of life. Moody’s ability to capture the melancholy that many of us experience is unmatched. I don’t want to compare him to any other writer because his work stands independently. 

Our main protagonist is a man named Henry Gallagher. He is a young womaniser who also happens to be an alcoholic. Throughout this collection, we witness the trials and tribulations of Gallagher’s relationships. Moody also explores the question of a predetermined life. Do our choices make us fail, or are some of us born to fail? I find this fascinating as it is something we often ponder when everything seems to be going wrong. 

I think that Jack Moody has a fair point. I have often thought that misery is my most major catalyst for creation. And, I have asked those same questions about the possibility of predestined tragedy. This concept is a common theme that is weaved through every story in this collection. Some people live a relatively quiet life, but others live quite a busy one. If you’re one of the latter, I am positive that you will have come across people like the characters in ‘Dancing to Broken Records’. 

My favourite stories from the collection are ‘Kristine’ and ‘Laurel’. What I found lovely about those tales, in particular, was the tenderness of our protagonist. Henry is quite a stoic man, but during these chapters, the affectionate side of his personality shines through. There is a euphoria within these stories that make the reader feel as though they have experienced these things. 

“There was a palpable moment of discernment as the bartender’s eyes darted between the two dirty twenty-somethings with shit-eating grins on their faces.” 


All the stories in this collection come together to form a neatly wrapped gift. Moody has managed to create a narrative that makes sense and feels raw. His debut novel ‘Crooked Smile’ is due to be released in 2022 with Outcast Press. This author has an enormous amount of talent that I believe is needed. We often shy away from the brutal moments in our lives, but Jack Moody illuminates them and shoves them in front of our eyes. 

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