Synopses & Reviews
Are you happy? Do we need galoshes? Are bluebirds perfect? Do you know the distinctions, empirical or theoretical, between moss and lichen? Is it clear to you why I am asking you all these questions? Should I go away? Leave you alone? Should I bother but myself with the interrogative mood?
The acclaimed writer Padgett Powell is fascinated by what it feels like to walk through everyday life, to hear the swing and snap of American talk, to be both electrified and overwhelmed by the mad cacophony — the muchness — of America. The Interrogative Mood is Powell's playful and profound response, a bebop solo of a book in which every sentence is a question.
Perhaps only Powell — a writer who was once touted as the best of his generation by Saul Bellow and among the top five writers of fiction in the country by Barry Hannah — could pull off such a remarkable stylistic feat. Is it a novel? Whatever it is, The Interrogative Mood is one of the most audacious literary high-wire acts since Nicholson Baker's The Mezzanine. Powell's unnamed narrator forces us to consider our core beliefs, our most cherished memories, our views on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In fiction as in life, there may be no easy answers — but The Interrogative Mood is an exuberant book that leaves the reader feeling a little more alive.
Playful and profound, The Interrogative Mood is a bebop solo of a book in which every sentence is a question. In it acclaimed novelist Padgett Powell a writer once touted as the best of his generation by Saul Bellow force us to consider our core beliefs, our most cherished memories, our final views on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In fiction as in life, there may be no easy answers but The Interrogative Mood is an exuberant book that leaves the reader feeling more alive.
“If Duchamp or maybe Magritte wrote a novel (and maybe they did. Did they?) it might look something like this remarkable little book of Padgett Powells.”
The Interrogative Mood is a wildly inventive, jazzy meditation on life and language by the novelist that Ian Frazier hails as “one of the best writers in America, and one of the funniest, too.” A novel composed entirely of questions, it is perhaps the most audacious literary high-wire act since Nicholson Bakers The Mezzanine or David Foster Wallaces stories; a playful and profound book that, as Jonathan Safran Foer says, “will sear the unlucky volumes shelved on either side of it. How it doesnt, itself, combust in flames is a mystery to me.”
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.