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You and Meby Padgett Powell
Synopses & Reviews
The cult hit The Interrogative Mood — a Best Book of the Year selection by Amazon.com, GQ, the Believer, Time Out New York, and elsewhere — reminded readers that Padgett Powell is one of the enduring stars of American fiction, an electric novelist with a pitch-perfect ear for the way Americans talk and the strange things we say and believe. Now he returns with a hilarious Southern send-up of Samuel Beckett's classic Waiting for Godot, and we enter the world of the sublime and trivial as only Powell can envision it.
Two loquacious men sit talking on a porch. Funny and profound, daft and cogent, they argue about love and sex, how best to live and die, the merits of Miles Davis and Cadillacs and Hollywood starlets of yore, underused cliches, false truisms, and the meaning of nihilism. Together, they shoot the shit — and then they go on shooting it long after it's dead.
Ribald and roaring, You and Me is an exuberant and very funny novel from a master of American fiction at the top of his game.
"Powell (The Interrogative Mood) asks what happens to a novel when it's stripped of exposition, setting, and plot. What remains is dialogue, the sort of ribald dialogue that Barry Hannah's liars might cast out over the water, pining for sex, drink, and some answers. Here, two old nameless 'weirdly agreeable dudes' talk in circles about suicide, childhood, and split-shot fishing weights, and wonder aloud if they might go to the 'liquor bunker' or 'go down to the creek and stare Despair down' in their 'not upscale neighborhood.' They're nearly as funny as Beckett's Vladimir and Estragon — an inevitable comparison for a duo who point out the word 'action' is not even a verb. But Beckett's characters are played by real men who move about a stage and fight with other players and wait with purpose. Our dime-store philosophers wait for no one but themselves 'to engage the world bravely' and become men. No one arrives — not Pozzo, or Lucky, or even a messenger — yet the novel's penetrating, playful words manage to 'pick impossibly heavy shit up' and deliver what one of the characters calls 'the perfect nonsense a real dream makes.' Agent: Cynthia Cannell, the Cynthia Cannell Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"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
"Padgett Powell's You and 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
"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
"This is the hilarious work of a master in a late-career renaissance." Creative Loafing
"Wonderful....You and 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
"[Written] with typical swaggering genius and ribald wit." Vanity Fair
"The book promises to be a Southern-fried, whiskey-soaked version of Waiting for Godot, and could put Powell in the running for the major literary prizes he's long deserved." NPR
"Extremely funny...reflective and poetic." Village Voice
"Great fun....Irreverent....Witty....Compelling." Kirkus Reviews
Padgett Powell, author of the acclaimed The Interrogative Mood and "one of the few truly important American writers of our time" (Sam Lipsyte), returns with a hilarious Southern send-up of Samuel Beckett's classic Waiting for Godot. Truly a master of envelope-pushing, post-postmodern American fiction, in a class with Nicholas Baker and Lydia Davis, Powell brilliantly blends the sublime, the trivial, and the oddball in You and Me, as two loquacious gents on a porch discuss all manner of subjects, from the mundane to the spiritual to the downright ridiculous. At once outrageously funny and profound, You and Me is yet another brilliant, boundary-bursting masterwork, proving once again that, "there are few writers who understand both the beauty and the absurdity of language as well as Padgett Powell" (Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang) and that, "Padgett Powell is one of the best writers in America, and one of the funniest, too" (Ian Frazier).
About the Author
Padgett Powell is the author of five novels, including The Interrogative Mood and Edisto, which was nominated for the National Book Award. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Harpers, Little Star, and The Paris Review, and he has received a Whiting Writers Award and the Rome Fellowship in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Gainesville, Florida, where he teaches writing at MFA@FLA, the writing program of the University of Florida.
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