Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Interrogative Mood: A Novel by Padgett Powell

If I told you I know the answer to the question about chlorophyll on page 7 would you believe me? Would you care? Even if it about energy and forbidden transitions? Did you know that the answer to almost all the questions on page 10 could be yes? What would it mean about me if my answers were no? Are the colours of the end papers significant? Would purple be even more so? And have I told you that I like the way your book fits into my hand - and the way the figure on the front is wrestling with his punctuation? Did I say?

I used to know a woman called Paget - are you perhaps related? And how about Piaget - did you know him? Do you agree with what he said? Do you even believe him? Are you aware that the question about the eagle on page 22 is soaringly beautiful? Did you know that referring to candies called jaw-breakers betrays not only your age but your nationality? Is that the point? Re jaw breaker - is that what we used to call a gob stopper? Did you know that people choke on these things? Was your mother's opinion of them the same as mine? And while I am on the subject of mouths and throats, is the gob in gob stopper the same gob as the gob in your gob of keys? Also, about phenolphthalein - does it matter that I'm a methyl orange kind of girl? And those bonds, when you mention them, I have to tell you that you leave a little out, but maybe you are being deliberately ionic? Or ironic? Or does it covalently not make exothermic sense?

Did you mean to infect my mind? I was just wondering: did you mean for me to become so overwhelmingly addicted to what comes next that I can't put it down? What will happen if I do? If I don't? Shall I tell you? Will you thank Profile books or shall I? And will you try to keep the sarcastic tone from your voice, because I really am grateful? Or should I add 'kinda'? Do you think this book of yours could be cuter if it tried? Shall I publish this before I reach the end? What do you mean by maybe? Would you mind not turning away? Can you please just answer me?


Blogger Paul Halpern said...

Funny review? Certainly!

Fri Aug 27, 08:34:00 am  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thanks Paul - the book is composed of questions, and according to the back flap the author does not believe in literary hogwash - so I thought I'd review it in the same spirit. It's a really interesting and unusual book - very clever. I highly recommend.

Fri Aug 27, 08:49:00 am  

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