Cover To Cover is the anchor program for GPB’s literary coverage. Cover To Cover features a collection of distinctive Southern voices interviewing Georgia writers, Southern writers, and writers dealing with the South. The GPB Southern Lit Cadre will provide you with a varied, weekly glimpse at fiction, non-fiction, history, poetry, and even the occasional ‘old school’ nod to Flannery O’Connor or William Faulkner.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Interrogative Mood

Padgett Powell's first novel, Edisto, immediately established him in the 1980s as one of the most original fiction writers of his generation. His subsequent books have done nothing to diminish his reputation among critics, but as they have become more and more experimental--in the vein of his mentor, Donald Barthleme, he hasn't exactly broadened his readership. With the publication last year of The Interrogative Mood--an entire book composed of nothing but questions--that pattern didn't seem likely to change. But, to his surprise as much as anyone's, the book brought more attention to Powell than anything had since his illustrious debut.

Powell toured the country in support of the book in the Fall of 2009, and came through Atlanta just a week after being profiled in The New York Times Sunday Magazine. Interviewing an author about a book like The Interrogative Mood, in which there is no plot, no true characters, not necessarily, as Powell admitted, even a book, was a bit of a daunting task. But simply being in earshot of Powell using the English language is a rewarding experience. In addition to sharing an illustrative passage, Powell talked about how he came to write such an unusual book and the surprising ways readers have responded to it. And, strange at it is, he discussed how this 150-page string of questions actually wound up revealing quite a bit about its author and, as all great fiction does, actually addresses some of life's eternal, well, questions.

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