Padgett Powell's latest, The Interrogative Mood, is getting much deserved attention all over the place these days. (Lamentably, too much comes from reviewers who think it's clever to frame the review in question, mimicking the book's format - it's not, we assure you.) We're fans of Powell's, but even we were skeptical that he good sustain the conceit for the length of a novel, even a short one, but he manages beautifully, and the book deserves a berth alongside the likes of David Markson's wonderful Reader's Block. Here's Rick Moody in Bookforum:
Thus a preponderance of questions relate to aloneness and to failure and isolation: “Is all of life clueless, or is most of it clueless with momentary bursts of clueness, or is it a spectrum of cluelessness to clueness on which people reside at various points, and are the points at which people reside on the spectrum of cluelessness fixed or variable?” Thus, the cake is made solitarily and solitarily consumed. Whereas the experimenters of Oulipo might have made possible a book composed only of questions, Powell manages, ingeniously, to imply narrative and context, and in this way to make the life outside the margins of the page particularized and deeply felt, and this effect grows richer as we work our way through the text, and thus the form is not a constraint so much as it is the only way for this narrator to tell this particular story.
We're happy to offer a copy of this thoughtful, engaging work, courtesy of the gang at Ecco. Everyone knows the rules, but here we go again: Drop us an email, subject line "IN THE MOOD" and you must, must, must include your full mailing address. We'll take all entries through the end of the holiday weekend, which we arbitrarily fix at 7 p.m. PST Sunday, November 29. At that point we turn to the Random Number Generator and ... Will the Random Number Generator make someone happy? Is it really random? What does random mean, anyway? Can one ever ... aw shit, there we go. Look at that. Happy holidays one and all, and we'll see you in this space on Monday next.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Andrew De Young of St. Paul, MN.