Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
on July 20, 2015
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 the hierarchy of reading so that the narrator (interviewer?) becomes the dynamic engager of text--but the real thrill of this book was nothing less than the constructions of the sentences themselves, the rich levels of rhythm and counterpoint that are found and rediscovered in a sentence mode that often seems to be used merely as the gateway towards information rather than a joy unto itself.
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.