Monday, January 4, 2010

The Interrogative Mood, by Padgett Powell

Where did Padgett Powell learn to form such elegant sentences, interrogative or otherwise? When reading such beautifully crafted prose it is a toss-up, to me, whether the joy resides in the story or the language itself. That said, this book has no story. It consists of 164 pages of questions; the reader must decide whether or not there is a narrative contained within this structure.

Where I heard about this book: It got a lot of press when it came out, and I've now heard and read about it in various places, though I have yet to speak to anyone else who has read it.

What I thought of this book
: I loved it. Many stars.

What this book is about
: Difficult to say. I would say that it is equally about the author and the reader, without any pesky characters interfering. The questions posed cover a wide variety of topics, some of which come up repeatedly. They are particular to the author, and to the era in which he has lived, and will be of varying relevance and interest to his audience. An inherent dialogue is formed between reader and writer that is unusual in a novel. These questions do not necessarily beg answers; I found that there were some I pondered, some I merely noted, and many that stirred thoughts that I didn't take much time to examine as I flew past to the next.

* A note a week after reading this book: It won't leave me alone! It pops into my head at least once, often several, times a day. Love books with staying power...

Here's and interview with the man himself embedded in a story about the book.

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