You & Me: A Novel Hardcover – Jul 13 2012
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“[Powell’s] characters might be all talk and no walk, but what wonderful talk it is. . . . Powell, in his recent work, has set his mind ablaze. And nothing but exquisite and deeply strange language is left to emerge from the ashes.” (NPR)
“The novel’s penetrating, playful words manage to ‘pick impossibly heavy sh*t up’ and deliver what one of the characters calls ‘the perfect nonsense a real dream makes.’” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“[Written] with typical swaggering genius and ribald wit.” (Vanity Fair)
“Hilarious [and] absorbing. . . . Powell can make the most barbed issuesthe power of media, class resentment, private self-judgment, and dread of deathslither through dialogue of zany simplicity.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Addictive, a plotless page-turner.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
“A hilarious and engaging novel, with a strong sense of natural speech and life’s absurdities, by the author of the highly acclaimed The Interrogative Mood.” (Booklist)
“Wonderful. . . . You & Me is by turns hilarious, depressing, gnomic, smutty, and just a far better Saturday night than anything to be had in Jacksonville and Baskersfield combined.” (BookForum)
“Deliciously human. . . . Powell creates dialogue so deftly that we feel we are sitting alongside these men, somehow caught up in their discussion. Slyly funny, sometimes silly, irreverent, impudent, and brash, Powell has crafted a conversation that is comically American, with a free and wild heart.” (Interview Magazine)
“This is the hilarious work of a master in a late-career renaissance.” (Creative Loafing)
“Extremely funny . . . reflective and poetic.” (Village Voice)
“Sit back and enjoy the ride. . . . The payoffs are marvelous. . . . Powell gets deeper and funnier every time out.” (Shelf Awareness)
“There’s a wild, improvisational spirit to Powell’s literary jazz. . . . You’re urged on by hilarious . . . digressions, the musical lilt of the vernacular. . . . Good fun.” (GQ.com)
“Great fun. . . . Irreverent. . . . Witty. . . . Compelling.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Hilarious [and] moving.” (Oxford American)
“Delightful. . . . Ripe with juicy, drunken, rambling revelations. . . . Powell’s wholly distinctive voice grabs you by the ear and sets you to laughing.” (Portland Mercury)
“One of the South’s most distinctive voices. . . . Make[s] your brain dance in ways you never thought it could. . . . There’s a hallucinatory brilliance at work here . . . most of all, in the improbable and covert way that Powell cracks your heart.” (Garden & Gun magazine)
“These old boys are Southern storytellers, masters of the gothic twist, the wry comeback. . . . Their voices become so vivid that reading the book begins to feel like eavesdroppingand a fine spell of eavesdropping it is.” (Tampa Bay Times)
“Padgett Powell’s You & Me, mixed with 750 ml of fine bourbon, is the most fun you can have in many states without getting arrested. Braver, tougher, smarter than most of the fiction supposedly pushing the envelope. Why? Because it actually means something.” (Gary Shteyngart, bestselling author of Super Sad True Love Story)
“There are few writers who understand both the beauty and the absurdity of language as well as Padgett Powell. . . . These are Nobel-big concerns, presented the way all grand truths should be delivered, with humor and tenderness.” (Kevin Wilson, bestselling author of The Family Fang)
“This book is a rare thing: experimental writing with powerful narrative drive. I finished it feeling quietedby its melancholic probingand exhilarated by its comic style.” (John Jeremiah Sullivan, author of Pulphead and Blood Horses)
“…Hilarious, bizarre and absorbing … Echoes of everyone from Walt Whitman to Will Rogers, vaudeville to Wittgenstein…Powell can make the most barbed issues -the power of media, class resentment, private self-judgment and dread of death - slither through dialogue of zany simplicity.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
From the Back Cover
The cult hit The Interrogative Mood—a Best Book of the Year selection by Amazon.com, GQ, The Believer, Time OutNew York, and elsewhere—reminded readers that Padgett Powell is one of the enduring stars of American fiction, an electric novelist with a pitch-perfect ear for the way Americans talk and the strange things we say and believe. Now he returns with a hilarious Southern send-up of Samuel Beckett's classic Waiting for Godot, and we enter the world of the sublime and trivial as only Powell can envision it.
Two loquacious men sit talking on a porch. Funny and profound, daft and cogent, they argue about love and sex, how best to live and die, the merits of Miles Davis and Cadillacs and Hollywood starlets of yore, underused clichés, false truisms, and the meaning of nihilism. Together, they shoot the shit—and then they go on shooting it long after it's dead.
Ribald and roaring, You & Me is an exuberant and very funny novel from a master of American fiction at the top of his game.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Comparing it to Beckett's Waiting for Godot is misleading. Both works consist entirely of the dialog between two male characters, and in each case the subject matter stutters and wanders, but Godot is as much movement and silence as dialog. Powell revs up the velocity fairly high, leaving little room for anything other than the dialog. There are made-up words, convoluted logic and a verbal interplay I've seldom encountered. It is very much of the United States in the early 21st century, yet it is also any two old guys getting together for a gab. "Mine is the weak strength of bluster."
Each section is labeled "&" because each is just another riff, another of the same, and the dialog is cumulative. We are introduced to Studio Becalmed early in the book, and he bobs back up every few pages, often with his love, Jayne Mansfield. "We have need of adventure. Let us have one. Summon Studio Becalmed." This circling of people and things (lard-and-hair sandwich is my favorite) adds to the pleasure since you can see these inanities from various angles. I mean who knew that you could include lard-and-hair sandwich in at least a dozen scenarios?
Many words are made up, but you always know what is meant, and feel that now you have read it, of course such a word is real...
"The base percentage of crackpottage remains the same."
"leg-sawing racket-specializing insects"
"Do you feel free? I feel as free as a green jujube being wedged from its red brothers in the box. Spring forth, jujube. Jujube the man!"
"When I take that multivitamin without eating something I feel a little upchucky."
And to finish this review I'll give you a larger chunk of Powellisms:
Did we party last night?
Not, to my knowledge, beyond the usual, the genteel talktail party we always hold. Why?
Because I notice that all the knobs to the stove are off the stove.
They are gone?
No, on the kitchen floor.
Neatly or scattered?
I would say they are in a configuration that is between neat and scattered. As if they fell from the stove behaving like apples falling from the tree are wont to behave: not far.
That is an interesting idea, stove knobs as fruit of the stove.
Well, the fruit is on the ground.
I am without answer.
A stove-knob burglar came in and was frightened off the booty by something?
One of us sleepwalks and likes to pull appliances apart? Were you punished for playing with the stove as a wee?
Did another appliance molest the stove - did the toaster oven pull her knobs off? Did a bull come into our china shop? I would like to know who coined that conceit, the bull in the china shop, it is not bad at all.
I wonder if a bull has ever actually got into a china shop.
I would think, in the long reach of time, it not unlikely, at least once. A bull running, say, down a street in Spain could easily detour into a fine shop. Remember your laws of thermodynamics. I'll say it was Dickens, Sterne, one of those guys.
I am a little depressed.
I am too.
We should reknob the stove.
I'm going to. I left them on the floor only for evidentiary purposes. The crime will not be solved, we might as well sweep up the evidence.
That could be our motto for Life. Life will not be explained; sweep away the evidence.