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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Very nice ex-library copy! Dust jacket has a few stickers, a few small grey spots, and a little crinkling on either end of spine and on a few very small corners. Plastic over dust jacket has a few dimples and scuff marks. Top edges of pages have a few stamps. First page has a sticker and a few words written in pencil. Rest of inside is pristine!
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You & Me: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 31, 2012

3.4 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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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)
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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: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,657,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am sure this is a book that a lot of people would like, but I had a hard time getting into it. It is a conversation style between two old men and sometimes I couldn't tell who was saying what....really did not matter because it was a little like the old Abbott and Costello routine, "Who's on First". It was very funny in some spots. As a rule, I never say a book is not worth reading. If an author puts forth the effort to write down thoughts, 99% of the time there is something of value or interest in it for many people. But this book just wasn't for me.
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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wouldn't call it a novel - more of an on-stage dialogue, sort of. Surprisingly, with no plot and only implied character development, the book is one to be savored, word for word. There are surprising connections from one block of dialogue to another. There are passages that were laugh-out-loud funny. The characters are clearly too clever to be such wastrels, but the existentialist twist of the book requires that they be sidelined because they won't participate. And that's all I'm going to say. If you're looking for romance, or action, or mystery thriller, forget this one. If you enjoy really intriguing writing for its own sake, dive in. I will likely read it again.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's Waiting for Godot…but without Godot. Or should I say, even less Godot than the original play? As there isn't even a promise of Godot but, at best, a trip to the liquor store in an orange jumpsuit. This lack of drive for the two porch-dwellers in Powell's new novel can, and does for a little bit, make the forward motion of this book a little vacant, but Powell gifts us in the best moments with the kind of Barthelme-like mastery he's certainly earned. Be ready for a total lack of narrative, and long stretches of unattributed dialogue. The exchanges are funny, blistered at times with utter sadness, and they certainly follow their own logic as well as a great ear for language, the words that pop up that become pursuits of logic, so overall I was won over and stuck through pretty well to the end, which is indeed an end. Have a feeling there won't be too many others who share my view.
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What if this author, who used to be pretty good, you know, now could only write a book that is an inane conversation between two old geezers about pretty much nothing?

You mean theoretically?

No.

Oh. That's sad.

Yes, it is.

But aren't there any good points? I'll bet there are some good blurbs, right?

One blurb compares it to Nicholson Baker.

Meaning a book about nothing, or where nothing really happens? The Mezzanine?

Yes, except in The Mezzanine there is quite a lot of interesting stuff.

Like?

What the ends of shoelaces are called.

What are they called?

Aglets.

Cool. That is interesting.

No, really, you know what I mean. You read the damned thing.

That wasn't Baker, that was Bierce.

I was speaking figuratively.

Huh?

Never mind. I'm the one who just had to read 190 some-odd pages to turn up only a few memorable phrases. Other than that, it's mainly meaningless wordplay and moaning about growing old.

I could moan about that.

Not for 190 some-odd pages.

Probably not. What about the few memorable phrases?

Well, let me see. There was something about telling Charon, "Take me down to Funky Town, my man."

I'm ROTFL.

You're not.

Next.

"Failure is to success as water is to land."

I'm on an island myself, surrounded by failure on all sides.

Don't look at me like that. I'm not telling you the rest. Actually, as I look at them on my Kindle, they really aren't that profound.

Do you feel like reading the book was largely a waste of time?

Yep.

So should I read it?

Nope.

Shall we have a drink now?

More than one, my man.
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