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The Interrogative Mood: A Novel? Paperback – October 5, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --Este texto se refiere a una edición agotada o no disponible de este título.
“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)
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Top customer reviews
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Powell, though, has a mastery and joy of language that I haven't seen since his mentor, Donald Barthelme. The depth of material, the wonderfully acoustic and left-field range of subjects, make what may sound at first like an interesting exercise (but not something akin to novel) a plain joy to read. Just listen to these variations and rhythm:
If you had a dog small enough to be transported in the pocket of your coat, what would you name it? Do you think in terms of salvation or redemption? Do you appreciate the color changes of leavews in the fall or is that spectacle a tad too popularly sentimental for you? Have you ever been catheterized? Is there a set number of rings you like a phone to ring before you pick up? Does the noise made by corduroy pants irritate you? Do you eat flan?
But Powell is not only a master of variation, but of repetition:
Would you say that you are pro peanut brittle, anti peanut brittle, or would you say "I do not have a dog in the peanut-brittle fight"?
Powell's interrogative sentences are worthy of reading aloud, of friggin' laughing aloud at, of waylaying unsuspecting strangers with. There's little more than I can offer here--read the damn book, already.
Why should you care what I think? Will you lmk if my review pisses you off or pleases you? Are you a bird counter or a worm farmer?
This effort may not be for everyone, but I loved it. Yes, every single sentence is a seemingly random question placed in a seemingly random order. No, this work is not a 'traditional' novel. It may not even be a 'novel' at all. But for avid readers who enjoy an author's adventure into uncharted territory, this book is great. I recommend it.
Enjoy the book no matter what your age or experience. And keep it on the back burner for a review every decade or so.