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Powell (Mrs. Hollinsworth's Men) is in playfully provocative, top form in this slender book fashioned solely as a series of questions beginning with his limpid first: Are your emotions pure? and ending with his prickly last: Are you leaving now? Would you? Would you mind? Thoughtful, cajoling and absurdist, Powell's random non sequiturs are not without their method, sounding some tenderly recurring themes, such as a middle-aged ruefulness for simpler times, a longing for more elegant forms in clothes, tools, cars and looks and a tenderness for elephants, dogs and children. At moments the questions become self-revelatory, as if the narrator is interviewing for a partner or friend (Would you believe me if I tell you that I am a little fragile, psychologically speaking...?), while also challenging the reader with pointed questions regarding ethical gravitas: Are you bothered by your cowardice? Hilarity, irony, and sheer perverseness vie to question essentially what we know and how what we know makes us what we are. (Oct.)
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“Captivating and often glorious.” (New York Times Book Review, Paperback Row )
“Can you picture the rabble-rousing literary offspring of Flannery O’Connor and Donald Barthelme? Does the prospect of reading a lawlessly lyrical, comic novel composed entirely in The Interrogative Mood pique your curiosity?” (Vanity Fair )
“[Powell] has a rare ear for dialect and dialogue, a dedication to new ways of making words jump and dance and catch fire.” (New York Times Magazine )
“Offhanded, witty, original, and [an] altogether unique book. . . . Here, he’s less a writer in the school of John Casey or Peter Taylor than he is a member of the badass gang of Barry Hannah. The Interrogative Mood, serious and laughable, extends this legacy.” (Rick Moody )
“A supreme literary stunt.” (Jonathan Lethem )
“[A] peculiar and mind-popping experience. . . . Most novels take us away from ourselves, into the lives and minds of other people. The Interrogative Mood goes boldly in the other direction — and really, wouldn’t you like to talk about yourself?” (St. Petersburg Times )
“Hypnotic...Jazzy meditations that wrestle with life’s important questions.” (The New Yorker )
“Intimate and hilarious—the yearning is as powerful as all that is evoked and revealed in this precise and beautiful novel.” (Amy Hempel )
“A delightful stylistic flight, and as engrossing as staying up late at summer camp considering every goofy or brilliant question that comes into your head. Padgett Powell is one of the best writers in America, and one of the funniest, too.” (Ian Frazier )
“This book will sear the unlucky volumes shelved on either side of it. How it doesn’t, itself, combust in flames is a mystery to me. Padgett Powell has given us a wake-up call.” (Jonathan Safran Foer )
“If Duchamp or maybe Magritte wrote a novel (and maybe they did. Did they?) it might look something like this remarkable little book of Padgett Powell’s: immensely readable, ingenious, witty, and ultimately important-feeling in a way you can’t quite describe but don’t need to.” (Richard Ford )
“[This novel] represents superior value in a crumbling economy. Its pages do not tell a story—they tell thousands of stories, all of them starring you. Powell pokes and prods, soothes and slaps you. By the end you will feel as rich as Haroun al-Rashid on the thousandth night.” (Luc Sante )
“[An] ingenious provocation, devious and deeply hilarious riff, perfect party game, not to mention the most entertaining personality test ever devised. But above all it is another brilliant work of fiction, in some ways Powell’s best, by one of the few truly important American writers of our time.” (Sam Lipsyte, author of HOME LAND )
“You don’t so much read [The Interrogative Mood] as let it shove and jangle you into unexpected and highly pleasurable states of mind. Powell is a master of nouveau Southern lyricism....How this book works is beyond me, but, miraculously, it does.” (Village Voice )
“The book intrigues as it entertains… [Powell’s] questions and nonsequiturs will have you looking at your own life with a renewed sense of observation—and a healthy appetite for the absurd.” (5 stars) (Time Out New York )
“A remarkable collection of philosophical inquiries, stimulating either/ors and good-faith measures the gap between where we are as a species and where we belong. The Interrogative Mood demands to be read deliberately, for it is courageous and entertaining and interested in the essential mysteries of self and society.” (New York Times Book Review )
This book isn't simply a bunch of silly questions from a clever and funny writer. The experience of reading it was very unique and quite enjoyable. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Jason in Portland
There's plenty to say about the fact that this book is composed entirely of questions--how this mode possibly turns the focus of the narrative upon the reader, or how it reverses... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mr. Richard K. Weems
Could not sustain interest in this clever arrangement of questions. Some themes recurred but is still a mystery to mePublished 6 months ago by Patricia M. Carey
What if I told you I loved this book for no particular reason?
Why should you care what I think? Will you lmk if my review pisses you off or pleases you? Read more
This book is very cool. It goes beyond the gimmick of being composed entirely of questions, and ends up adding up to, if not a narrative, a unified, quirky, and entertaining world... Read morePublished 13 months ago by E. Allen
This is a tour de force that I loved, mostly for the dazed states of mind this endless stream of questions put me through - until I realised that indeed, one can get used to almost... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Hugh Pope
This book reads like a collection of essay starter questions. It also makes for good bathroom reading. Read morePublished 17 months ago by V. C. Bowen