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The Interrogative Mood Hardcover – 11 Nov 2010

16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (11 Nov. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846683661
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846683664
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.1 x 20.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 286,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Surreal, hypnotic and unique... an epic journey of enquiry (Independent 2010-11-13)

A great read... It works triumphantly... Lyrical, profound, heartbreaking and fantastically funny, it becomes, as the questions pile up, a compendious and intimate portrait of the questioner... it is superbly balanced. (Bryan Appleyard Sunday Times 2010-10-31)

An extraordinary book... a celebration of the human need to understand, which makes it life-affirming. Fresh and funny, it reminded me of the work of that other playful miniaturist, Nicholson Baker. (Adrian Turpin Financial Times 2010-10-23)

Powell is asking us to consider what we want from fiction... a remarkable book... Where many experimental novels are content merely to test the limits of our concept of fiction, Powell is more ambitious... he has succeeded in producing a novel which exists entirely off the page; it is our unseen responses which determine what the story will be. (Sam Byers TLS 2010-11-12)

Would you spend £9.99 on this book? (Ben Jackson The Sun 2010-11-12)

What if I told you that, as unlikely as it may sound, reading this book was one of the most intriguing and pleasurable experiences I have had this year?

An impressive literary comeback and a work of real bravado and charm. The book is not a novel but it manages to do something that many novels try to do: it offers a detailed, fascinating character study by exploring the textures of a highly individual and idiosyncratic sensibility... There is, as these questions accumulate, a kind of melancholy, an obsessive nostalgia that is, in a way that is hard to put one's finger on, deeply moving....

So did I enjoy this book? Should you read it? Do you really have to ask?

(Troy Jollimore Observer 2010-11-07)

Is this the most bloody-mindedly brilliant new work of fiction I have read this year? Why? Who's asking? Could you stop that please? (Stephen Poole Guardian 2010-11-13)

When we first came across Padgett Powell's remarkable writing it blew our minds completely... brilliant!... bonkers Beckettian comedy... a truly great and hilarious little book, and these questions are for life. Not just for Christmas. (Stuart Hammond Dazed and Confused 2010-11-01)

A compulsive read...you'll find yourself answering back to every page (Danielle Goldstein Time Out 2010-11-18)

A remarkable book. ..astonishingly insightful...compelling and mesmerising...The prose is beautiful and the questions admirably structured, touching upon all aspects of life from the mundane to the sublime...Powell fires off razor-sharp questions with a casual flair that belies the intensity and personal nature of some of the questions...Brilliantly inventive and intelligent, The Interrogative Mood is a bewildering and fascinating story. Not only is it unique and strange, but this bizarre book will linger in your mind long after you've stopped reading (Bryony Byrne Aesthetica 2010-11-01)

Book Description

Precise and beautiful, intimate and hilarious, you will never have read anything quite like it

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul Bowes TOP 500 REVIEWER on 11 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover
The most obvious point to be made about 'The Interrogative Mood' is that it is composed entirely of questions. Gilbert Sorrentino used the same formal device in 'Gold Fools' (1999) ten years before Padgett Powell, and at much greater length; so Powell can't even claim stylistic novelty. His book (subtitled 'A Novel?') has to stake its claim to the reader's attention on other merits.

There are many different types of question. What they all have in common - even the rhetorical question - is the assumption of someone to whom the question is addressed. Powell can't know who his readers are, and so what any given reader might respond to any given question. It isn't clear whether his unnamed questioner has a particular addressee in mind. So 'The Interrogative Mood' works by posing to unknown interlocutors successions of questions that seem more or less arbitrarily divided into sections that in a more traditional work might correspond to chapters. Some of these questions invite direct responses that are never forthcoming - unless the reader chooses to provide them. Some questions follow from others, but most do not - although as the reader progresses, certain patterns of recurrence make themselves felt.

Some of these questions are funny, some metaphysical, others disconcertingly personal or eccentric. Slowly, the vague outline of a guiding personality behind the interrogation - someone who may be more serious in his intent than at first appears - surfaces, only to submerge again with a new non sequitur.

The novel is an almost infinitely flexible form. Whether 'The Interrogative Mood' is in any meaningful sense a novel is beside the point.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By thornyb on 27 July 2011
Format: Hardcover
This strangely intriguing book The Interrogative Mood is the author's journey through somewhere using questions only. Some of the questions are simple and some descriptive of the author's own knowledge and understandings. One feels compelled to keep reading and yet to go too fast means not spending time reflecting on your own answers to these soul-searching questions. It's definitely a book you can read more than once - though perhaps the second time would be more dipping in and out.

As an educator, the thought has crossed my mind that it would be a good exercise for my students to fill several sides with questions that come to their minds because if reading it has an effect on the reader then surely writing such a text will have a profound effect on the writer. The questions are personal because it is the writer who has come up with them and so, this time, I was not put off by the constant references to the references the author makes to things that only people from his background might know about.In the end I decided that everyone should write such a book. Why? Because in the end I believe it gives the writer as well as the reader a different insight into themselves than other forms of writing.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Big Jim TOP 100 REVIEWER on 22 Nov. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Is this book a novel? Is it a work of non-fiction? Is it even a book? What would you say if I said this was just a list of questions? What if they are humerous, interesting, thought provoking questions? Does the book warrant the hype it has received? Will you read it in a day like I did but think about it for many days afterwards? Is the format a conceit too far? Do you wish you'd had this idea first and made a fortune out of it? Is it worth the money? Why is this the first review of the book on Amazon UK when the book's been out a fortnight? Is this even a review? If so, isn't this a predictable and indeed pretentious way to do the review? Is the book worth buying? How many stars have I given this book? Am I taking this concept too far? Who said "yes" to the last question?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Robert Griffen on 14 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover
A most amusing book which you can dip in and out of at will. Well worth taking the time to read and then use it for quotes etc., I have enjoyed the book and now it goes as a present to a member of the family.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By emma who reads a lot TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Interrogative Mood is a fiction made up entirely of questions, but I had imagined that like a 'conventional' novel it was going to have a narrative. In fact it's much stranger than that and less pin-down-able. The questions are put to you, the reader, to answer, and many are thought-provoking, some are silly, some are odd enough to suggest something of the mind of the questioner. But I never really got to the bottom of what was happening, and although the overall effect was interesting (and my mind would wander back to the questions over the next few hours) I didn't end up moved.

Is a book simply made up of questions a thinking tool, an open-ended piece of poetry, or a pleasant waste of time? Possibly all three.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By skyler on 3 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I heard about this book on radio four and expected to be moved but was still surprised at how it worked... Apart from being a bit "american" it helped me to decide on my next life adventure! It pins you down and demands and answer... read it...
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Format: Kindle Edition
A Novel? Not quite, but this book certainly provided me with some light entertainment, that I really didn't think I'd get from a book that comprised solely of questions. Essentially the book takes you on a thought provoking journey of nonsense...

OK I'm not really selling this book am I?

The fact is, the book is cleverly written, quite scarily gets inside your mind and pokes fun at your answers but the questions asked, also give you pause for thought, some make you NEED to look up the answers online; some do not have a correct answer! It takes you through a series of emotions such as guilt, laughter and concern.

"Have you ever heard the saying, life is a sandwich of activity between two periods of bed-wetting?"

"Do you know what the longest military siege in history was?"

"If one of three planes was destined to crash, killing either the entire football team, the entire marching band or the entire cheerleading squad and you had to decide which plane was destined to crash, which plane would you select?"

The above questions are just a few examples, mostly the questions are cleverly laid out, to follow on from the last or a previous question.

This book would have received 5 stars from me, but many of the American references were lost on someone from the UK who doesn't follow US television or sports.
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