The Interrogative Mood

The Interrogative Mood - Padgett Powell

This book is made up entirely of questions. This could have been interesting.


It wasn't.


"When did you last have a piece of Melba toast?


"Author, you are wasting my time.


"Could Mendeleyev place you correctly in a square on a chart of periodic identities, or would you resonate all over the board?"


Now if you don't think about it for even a micro-second, this has the air of being deep. And if you recognize Mendeleyev you might feel a flutter of self-congratulation. (Hey, I got that reference!) But if you actually think about this question... well, you soon discover that there is nothing there.


It´s a shiny, empty box.


The book alternates between these two types of questions (mundane and pseudo-deep) until you loose the will to live. Or you stop reading. I recommend the latter. And somehow the fact that these empty little baubles are in the form of questions really irks me. It´s an insult to the readers´ intelligence. Why would I waste my time and energy on what is essentially fluff? A question mark does not create instant philosophical depth and the sheer number of questions included here does not create substance.


In a way it´s a perfect product of the consumer age: inauthentic, content-free -- basically the equivalent of mental junk food.


And it doesn´t even taste good.


[I don´t usually do scathing reviews, but I hate to think of anyone else wasting their time and money on this hollow rubbish.]

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