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You & Me: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 31, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; 1ST edition (July 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006212613X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062126139
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #521,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Bookforum

You & Me is by turns hilarious, depressing, gnomic, smutty, and just a far better Saturday night than anything to be had in Jacksonville and Bakersfield combined. — Joshua Cohen

Review

“[Powell’s] characters might be all talk and no walk, but what wonderful talk it is. . . . Powell, in his recent work, has set his mind ablaze. And nothing but exquisite and deeply strange language is left to emerge from the ashes.” (NPR)

“The novel’s penetrating, playful words manage to ‘pick impossibly heavy sh*t up’ and deliver what one of the characters calls ‘the perfect nonsense a real dream makes.’” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“[Written] with typical swaggering genius and ribald wit.” (Vanity Fair)

“Hilarious [and] absorbing. . . . Powell can make the most barbed issues—the power of media, class resentment, private self-judgment, and dread of death—slither through dialogue of zany simplicity.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

“Addictive, a plotless page-turner.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

“A hilarious and engaging novel, with a strong sense of natural speech and life’s absurdities, by the author of the highly acclaimed The Interrogative Mood.” (Booklist)

“Wonderful. . . . You & Me is by turns hilarious, depressing, gnomic, smutty, and just a far better Saturday night than anything to be had in Jacksonville and Baskersfield combined.” (BookForum)

“Deliciously human. . . . Powell creates dialogue so deftly that we feel we are sitting alongside these men, somehow caught up in their discussion. Slyly funny, sometimes silly, irreverent, impudent, and brash, Powell has crafted a conversation that is comically American, with a free and wild heart.” (Interview Magazine)

“This is the hilarious work of a master in a late-career renaissance.” (Creative Loafing)

“Extremely funny . . . reflective and poetic.” (Village Voice)

“Sit back and enjoy the ride. . . . The payoffs are marvelous. . . . Powell gets deeper and funnier every time out.” (Shelf Awareness)

“There’s a wild, improvisational spirit to Powell’s literary jazz. . . . You’re urged on by hilarious . . . digressions, the musical lilt of the vernacular. . . . Good fun.” (GQ.com)

“Great fun. . . . Irreverent. . . . Witty. . . . Compelling.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Hilarious [and] moving.” (Oxford American)

“Delightful. . . . Ripe with juicy, drunken, rambling revelations. . . . Powell’s wholly distinctive voice grabs you by the ear and sets you to laughing.” (Portland Mercury)

“One of the South’s most distinctive voices. . . . Make[s] your brain dance in ways you never thought it could. . . . There’s a hallucinatory brilliance at work here . . . most of all, in the improbable and covert way that Powell cracks your heart.” (Garden & Gun magazine)

“These old boys are Southern storytellers, masters of the gothic twist, the wry comeback. . . . Their voices become so vivid that reading the book begins to feel like eavesdropping—and a fine spell of eavesdropping it is.” (Tampa Bay Times)

“Padgett Powell’s You & Me, mixed with 750 ml of fine bourbon, is the most fun you can have in many states without getting arrested. Braver, tougher, smarter than most of the fiction supposedly pushing the envelope. Why? Because it actually means something.” (Gary Shteyngart, bestselling author of Super Sad True Love Story)

“There are few writers who understand both the beauty and the absurdity of language as well as Padgett Powell. . . . These are Nobel-big concerns, presented the way all grand truths should be delivered, with humor and tenderness.” (Kevin Wilson, bestselling author of The Family Fang)

“This book is a rare thing: experimental writing with powerful narrative drive. I finished it feeling quieted—by its melancholic probing—and exhilarated by its comic style.” (John Jeremiah Sullivan, author of Pulphead and Blood Horses)

“…Hilarious, bizarre and absorbing … Echoes of everyone from Walt Whitman to Will Rogers, vaudeville to Wittgenstein…Powell can make the most barbed issues -the power of media, class resentment, private self-judgment and dread of death - slither through dialogue of zany simplicity.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

More About the Author

Padgett Powell is the author of five novels, including The Interrogative Mood and Edisto, which was nominated for the National Book Award. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Little Star, and The Paris Review, and he has received a Whiting Writers' Award and the Rome Fellowship in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Gainesville, Florida, where he teaches writing at MFA@FLA, the writing program of the University of Florida.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 12 customer reviews
I'm looking forward to continuing the read.
mllecheree
If you enjoy really intriguing writing for its own sake, dive in.
doctormama
That is an interesting idea, stove knobs as fruit of the stove.
las cosas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By las cosas on August 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Two stand-up comics without a script. Just riffing back and forth on anything two white males, somewhere between Jacksonville, Florida, and Bakersfield, California, can think up. And that covers a considerable amount of territory, from Jayne Mansfield's natural endowments to why anyone thought they could sell something called oleomargarine. Mildly politically incorrect, using a sometimes salty vocabulary Amazon wouldn't allow in a review, the language is simply over-the-top original.

Comparing it to Beckett's Waiting for Godot is misleading. Both works consist entirely of the dialog between two male characters, and in each case the subject matter stutters and wanders, but Godot is as much movement and silence as dialog. Powell revs up the velocity fairly high, leaving little room for anything other than the dialog. There are made-up words, convoluted logic and a verbal interplay I've seldom encountered. It is very much of the United States in the early 21st century, yet it is also any two old guys getting together for a gab. "Mine is the weak strength of bluster."

Each section is labeled "&" because each is just another riff, another of the same, and the dialog is cumulative. We are introduced to Studio Becalmed early in the book, and he bobs back up every few pages, often with his love, Jayne Mansfield. "We have need of adventure. Let us have one. Summon Studio Becalmed." This circling of people and things (lard-and-hair sandwich is my favorite) adds to the pleasure since you can see these inanities from various angles. I mean who knew that you could include lard-and-hair sandwich in at least a dozen scenarios?

Many words are made up, but you always know what is meant, and feel that now you have read it, of course such a word is real...
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JSC Siow on August 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Whimsical is what I'd call this volume. Comprising a choice selection of non sequitur-ish conversations between 2 ole geezers sitting on a porch in an unnamed dilapidated podunk place with little more than time and liquor-fueled imagination/memory as inspiration, their inane musings embody the best of what's commonly called shootin' the breeze ... which, depending on one's mood, can seem either depressingly trivial and pointless or archly funny and delightfully snippy commentary on the absurdities of life. An easy read that can be finished in one afternoon, this was a welcome and amusing distraction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Curious reader on August 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You and Me by Padgett Powell was so funny at times that you doubled over with laughter and at other times you were gut socked with reality. Both laughter and reality crept up on you as you read. I plan to reread and savor this one.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By mllecheree on August 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Richard W. Kopperdahl, your review of the book is from a sample? Well, if that's the standard . . . .

In the first third of the book, Padgett Powell displays genius in his use of the English language. I don't care that it has less plot than an average episode of "Seinfeld" -- the book is so hilarious I had to quit reading it before bed. "Seinfeld," on the other hand, I can watch without the smiles and giggles engendered interfering with my beauty sleep. I'm looking forward to continuing the read.

Oh, wait. Richard W. Kopperdahl, your 3-star review was actually about the book's marketing? It made you look, didn't it?
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By bisrosolan on September 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You & Me is a deliciously weird stream of consciousness that is hard to put down. There seems to be no central plot, but it still provides the reader with a story that feels like it is always moving forward. At times, it feels almost like voyeuristic glimpse into a private world shared by two elderly friends. I wanted the book to continue on further than it did as it felt that time with the characters was too short.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very funny. Have bought several copies to give as gifts.
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