The Interrogative Mood: A Novel?

Overview

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 fictionas in life, there may be no easy answers—but The Interrogative Mood is an exuberant book that leaves the reader feeling more ...

See more details below
Paperback
$11.19
BN.com price
(Save 20%)$13.99 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (17) from $4.66   
  • New (8) from $4.66   
  • Used (9) from $4.92   
The Interrogative Mood

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.39
BN.com price

Overview

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 fictionas in life, there may be no easy answers—but The Interrogative Mood is an exuberant book that leaves the reader feeling more alive.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
“A remarkable collection of philosophical inquiries, stimulating either/ors and good-faith measures the gap between where we are as a species and where we belong. The Interrogative Mood demands to be read deliberately, for it is courageous and entertaining and interested in the essential mysteries of self and society.”
Vanity Fair
“Can you picture the rabble-rousing literary offspring of Flannery O’Connor and Donald Barthelme? Does the prospect of reading a lawlessly lyrical, comic novel composed entirely in The Interrogative Mood pique your curiosity?”
New York Times Magazine
“[Powell] has a rare ear for dialect and dialogue, a dedication to new ways of making words jump and dance and catch fire.”
Rick Moody
“Offhanded, witty, original, and [an] altogether unique book. . . . Here, he’s less a writer in the school of John Casey or Peter Taylor than he is a member of the badass gang of Barry Hannah. The Interrogative Mood, serious and laughable, extends this legacy.”
Jonathan Lethem
“A supreme literary stunt.”
St. Petersburg Times
“[A] peculiar and mind-popping experience. . . . Most novels take us away from ourselves, into the lives and minds of other people. The Interrogative Mood goes boldly in the other direction — and really, wouldn’t you like to talk about yourself?”
The New Yorker
“Hypnotic...Jazzy meditations that wrestle with life’s important questions.”
Amy Hempel
“Intimate and hilarious—the yearning is as powerful as all that is evoked and revealed in this precise and beautiful novel.”
Ian Frazier
“A delightful stylistic flight, and as engrossing as staying up late at summer camp considering every goofy or brilliant question that comes into your head. Padgett Powell is one of the best writers in America, and one of the funniest, too.”
Jonathan Safran Foer
“This book will sear the unlucky volumes shelved on either side of it. How it doesn’t, itself, combust in flames is a mystery to me. Padgett Powell has given us a wake-up call.”
Richard Ford
“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 Powell’s: immensely readable, ingenious, witty, and ultimately important-feeling in a way you can’t quite describe but don’t need to.”
Luc Sante
“[This novel] represents superior value in a crumbling economy. Its pages do not tell a story—they tell thousands of stories, all of them starring you. Powell pokes and prods, soothes and slaps you. By the end you will feel as rich as Haroun al-Rashid on the thousandth night.”
Sam Lipsyte
“[An] ingenious provocation, devious and deeply hilarious riff, perfect party game, not to mention the most entertaining personality test ever devised. But above all it is another brilliant work of fiction, in some ways Powell’s best, by one of the few truly important American writers of our time.”
Village Voice
“You don’t so much read [The Interrogative Mood] as let it shove and jangle you into unexpected and highly pleasurable states of mind. Powell is a master of nouveau Southern lyricism....How this book works is beyond me, but, miraculously, it does.”
Time Out New York
“The book intrigues as it entertains… [Powell’s] questions and nonsequiturs will have you looking at your own life with a renewed sense of observation—and a healthy appetite for the absurd.” (5 stars)
New York Times Magazine
"[Powell] has a rare ear for dialect and dialogue, a dedication to new ways of making words jump and dance and catch fire."
Time Out New York
"The book intrigues as it entertains… [Powell’s] questions and nonsequiturs will have you looking at your own life with a renewed sense of observation—and a healthy appetite for the absurd." (5 stars)
St. Petersburg Times
"[A] peculiar and mind-popping experience. . . . Most novels take us away from ourselves, into the lives and minds of other people. The Interrogative Mood goes boldly in the other direction — and really, wouldn’t you like to talk about yourself?"
New York Times Book Review
"A remarkable collection of philosophical inquiries, stimulating either/ors and good-faith measures the gap between where we are as a species and where we belong. The Interrogative Mood demands to be read deliberately, for it is courageous and entertaining and interested in the essential mysteries of self and society."
Village Voice
"You don’t so much read [The Interrogative Mood] as let it shove and jangle you into unexpected and highly pleasurable states of mind. Powell is a master of nouveau Southern lyricism....How this book works is beyond me, but, miraculously, it does."
The New Yorker
"Hypnotic...Jazzy meditations that wrestle with life’s important questions."
Vanity Fair
"Can you picture the rabble-rousing literary offspring of Flannery O’Connor and Donald Barthelme? Does the prospect of reading a lawlessly lyrical, comic novel composed entirely in The Interrogative Mood pique your curiosity?"
Rick Moody
"Offhanded, witty, original, and [an] altogether unique book. . . . Here, he’s less a writer in the school of John Casey or Peter Taylor than he is a member of the badass gang of Barry Hannah. The Interrogative Mood, serious and laughable, extends this legacy."
Jonathan Lethem
"A supreme literary stunt."
Amy Hempel
"Intimate and hilarious—the yearning is as powerful as all that is evoked and revealed in this precise and beautiful novel."
Ian Frazier
"A delightful stylistic flight, and as engrossing as staying up late at summer camp considering every goofy or brilliant question that comes into your head. Padgett Powell is one of the best writers in America, and one of the funniest, too."
Jonathan Safran Foer
"This book will sear the unlucky volumes shelved on either side of it. How it doesn’t, itself, combust in flames is a mystery to me. Padgett Powell has given us a wake-up call."
Richard Ford
"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 Powell’s: immensely readable, ingenious, witty, and ultimately important-feeling in a way you can’t quite describe but don’t need to."
Luc Sante
"[This novel] represents superior value in a crumbling economy. Its pages do not tell a story—they tell thousands of stories, all of them starring you. Powell pokes and prods, soothes and slaps you. By the end you will feel as rich as Haroun al-Rashid on the thousandth night."
Sam Lipsyte
"[An] ingenious provocation, devious and deeply hilarious riff, perfect party game, not to mention the most entertaining personality test ever devised. But above all it is another brilliant work of fiction, in some ways Powell’s best, by one of the few truly important American writers of our time."
Josh Emmons
Powell's new book is a remarkable collection of philosophical inquiries, stimulating either/ors and good-faith attempts to measure the gap between where we are as a species and where we belong…a fearless meditation on the sublime and the trivial, a hydra-headed reflection of life as it is experienced and of thought as it is felt. With echoes of the Tao Te Ching, "My Funny Valentine," Pascal's Pensees, Green Eggs and Ham, Annie Dillard's This Is the Life and countless other quests for conviction that secretly understand and depend on the futility of such quests, it is wondrous strange…The Interrogative Mood demands to be read deliberately, for it is courageous and entertaining and interested in the essential mysteries of self and society. Powell, with his outsize romanticism and urge only to connect, shows that it is through questions rather than answers that truth can, however fleetingly, be glimpsed.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Powell (Mrs. Hollinsworth's Men) is in playfully provocative, top form in this slender book fashioned solely as a series of questions beginning with his limpid first: “Are your emotions pure?” and ending with his prickly last: “Are you leaving now? Would you? Would you mind?” Thoughtful, cajoling and absurdist, Powell's random non sequiturs are not without their method, sounding some tenderly recurring themes, such as a middle-aged ruefulness for simpler times, a longing for more elegant forms in clothes, tools, cars and looks and a tenderness for elephants, dogs and children. At moments the questions become self-revelatory, as if the narrator is interviewing for a partner or friend (“Would you believe me if I tell you that I am a little fragile, psychologically speaking...?”), while also challenging the reader with pointed questions regarding ethical gravitas: “Are you bothered by your cowardice?” Hilarity, irony, and sheer perverseness vie to question essentially what we know and how what we know makes us what we are. (Oct.)
Library Journal
WTF? Can you write a thoroughly engaging book consisting of nothing but questions? If you can't, can Powell? Can you call a book with no dialog or characters fiction, or if you respond to the questions in your mind, isn't that characters and dialog? Will you? Why or why not? How many slices of life make a whole life? Is this the most original work this side of Ben Marcus's Age of Wire and Strings way back in 1995? Why will people of a philosophical bent enjoy this book? How bent do they have to be? Does it help to have the twisted sense of humor of a Monty Python fan? Will "people of a certain" age particularly respond to this book? How old is "a certain age" anyway? Are you uncertain? Could The Interrogative Mood become a cult classic? Why "mood" instead of "mode"? Why would this book not work for discussion groups? Why is the VERDICT for this weird little book so utterly positive?—Jim Dwyer, California State Univ. Lib., Chico
Kirkus Reviews
This novel is a one-trick pony, and that trick is a question mark. Though Powell (Edisto, 1984, etc.) received considerable acclaim for his early work, his latest literary stunt would be wearying in a short story and seems interminable in even a short novel. As the title hints, every sentence is a question (and is certain to inspire some reviews that respond in kind). Some of these questions seem like the sort of personality interview form an applicant might see at a job interview. Some seem more like therapy, or interrogation. Most of them seem random, arbitrary, non sequiturs: "What is the loudest noise you have ever heard? Have you done any mountain climbing? Would you eat a monkey? What broke your heart?" Though the questioner at one point addresses the silent respondee as "dear," the relationship otherwise seems unspecified. The questioner, however, keeps returning to certain obsessions: bodily functions (particularly excretory), philosophy, pedophilia, coffee, chocolate, clowns, animals, popular music (including a long riff on Jimi Hendrix), word usage, suicide. A few of the questions are almost as long as this review. Is there a thematic pattern to the questions? Or does the lack of a pattern indicate a theme? Does a novel consisting only of questions suggest that there is nothing we can know with sufficient certainty to justify a declarative sentence? Is a novel without plot, dialogue, setting, narrative momentum and characters (except for the person asking the questions and the person/reader to whom they are asked) a novel at all? Less than a third of the way through, the questioner asks, "Have we gone on like this long enough?" Yes! Later, "Does it change things a bit for you toperceive that these questions want you bad? And that they are perhaps independent of me, to some degree? That they are somewhat akin to, say, zombies of the interrogative mood?"Whatever.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061859434
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/5/2010
  • Pages: 178
  • Sales rank: 176,897
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Padgett Powell is the author of six novels, including Edisto, which was nominated for the National Book Award, and two collections of stories. His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper's, and the Paris Review, as well as in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Sports Writing. He has received a Whiting Writers' Award, the Rome Fellowship in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He lives in Gainesville, Florida, where he teaches at MFA@FLA, the writing program of the University of Florida.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2012

    Can't put it down

    Find it funny and clever and I'd love to meet this man! I'm allowing myself the luxury of reading only a couple of pages a day.......

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)