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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.
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on September 7, 2015
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. It has also lingered in my mind as much as any other book has. This steady stream of brilliantly crafted questions poked, prodded, and tickled my brain in every way imaginable. I was just as likely to spontaneously laugh (I couldn't read it in bed because I would invariably wake my wife up) as I was to be struck by serious question that would cause me to drop my eyes, sigh, and find myself lost in thought minutes later.
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on January 8, 2015
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? Are you a bird counter or a worm farmer?
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on September 4, 2014
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 view. It's challenging too, if you want it to be. Many of the questions invite you to think hard about all sorts of things, and to relate the questions to your own life. Why only four stars? Well, it's not in the same class as The Great Gatsby (and doesn't pretend to be).
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on September 7, 2017
Entertaining as ever for the inquisitive mind. Has the ability to entertain groups!
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on September 26, 2016
great book. enjoyed reading it
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on January 15, 2016
In a word, brilliant!
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.
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on February 24, 2014
This book is sooooo much fun. Questions I had never considered, and those I have asked myself. At age 21 fresh out of college and married, my answers would have been different than they are at age 64, divorced and retired. I like to think I have grown and learned a thing or two during those 40+ years.
Enjoy the book no matter what your age or experience. And keep it on the back burner for a review every decade or so.
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on February 16, 2010
Do you like spending time reflecting about your childhood? Are your childhood memories good or bad? Even if you don't remember your childhood as being happy,do you still feel you learned or gained something from it? Do you read a wide variety of books on different subjects? Have you had rich and varied life experiences? Do you like thinking about things? Does internal dialog mean anything to you?
Then jump on in-this is the book you have been waiting for: they are few and far between.
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on August 16, 2010
First I was surprised how small the book was but then I realized that inside you can find so much interesting questions it takes months to go through. I put the questions to myself during reading, to my friends and family and all were really thrilled with the book. It's like a game. And a funny game. Forexample I laughed when my cousin spent approx. ten minutes thinking about strawberrys and cherrys - which fruit she would choose.
It's just sometimes the questions are too long and too complicated and generally I don't like harcovers as much as paperbacks.
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