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Mrs. Hollingsworth's Men
Synopses & Reviews
At her kitchen table, somewhere in the South, Padgett Powell's narrator embarks on a spirited and often hilarious imagining of certain historical figures and current national preoccupations. Ostensibly writing her grocery list, Mrs. Hollingsworth most happily loses her sense of herself. Her list becomes a discovery of the things she has and those she lacks, including men even her own husband. Mrs. Hollingsworth begins her list by imagining a lost-love story in which she is playful with and disdainful of the conventions of Southern Literature. Soon tiring of that, she decides to turn up her imagination. For reasons unclear to her, the Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, an icon of the Lost Cause, rides into her tired lost-love story. He appears as a hologram created by a media giant, who aims to find the real New Southerner in a man who can recognize General Forrest's image. Into this surreal atmosphere enter Mrs. Hollingsworth's all too real daughters, the forgotten husband, the boys of the neighborhood, and petty criminals named Oswald and Bundy. Within this singular narrative collage, strong tenderness arises, with accounts of genuine lost love, both familial and wholly romantic.
"Many of us have wished that someone would bury the Confederate dead. Powell has gone further given them, and us, a new lease on intelligent life. Mrs. Hollingsworth's Men is refreshing and provocative and very funny." Roy Blount Jr.
"You can hear the Scottish bagpipes and feel the heavy horses in the ground. Glory. Misery. Never to be repeated. A lost cause, but a cause. Padgett Powell is among the top five writers of fiction in the country, word-perfect and often, when compelled, full of soaring found lyricism. Mrs. Hollingsworth's Men is very different for Powell, but alight with hard deep thoughts, true, as usual." Barry Hannah
"A list (incomplete) of qualities you'll find in Mrs. Hollingsworth's Men: outrageous invention, hilarity, energy, insight, lust, caprice, provocation, and a brilliant blend of history and memory. With Mrs. Hollingsworth, Padgett Powell has created American fiction's greatest daydreamer." Joanna Scott
"When asked for a list of the best American writers of the younger generation, I invariably put the name of Padgett Powell at the top." Saul Bellow
At her kitchen table somewhere in the South, Powell's narrator embarks on a spirited and often hilarious imagining of certain historical figures and current national preoccupations. Ostensibly writing her grocery list, Mrs. Hollingsworth most happily loses her sense of herself until her family intrudes along with two petty criminals named Oswald and Bundy.
About the Author
Padgett Powell has received the Prix de Rome of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Whiting Writer's Award, and a nomination for the National Book Award. He is also the author of the novels Mrs. Hollingsworth's Men, Edisto, A Woman Named Drown, Edisto Revisted, and two collections of stories. His stories and essays have been selected for Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays. He teaches in Gainesville, Florida, where he lives with his wife and their two children.
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