Would you believe me if I told you The Interrogative Method by Padgett Powell is a masterful book? Did you know it’s written entirely in questions, one after another, with no apparent rhyme or reason, yet drawing you further and further in?
Have you read anything by Powell before? Maybe you read Edisto, his masterful first novel that tells the story of Simons Everson Manigault, the remarkable 12-year-old who could have been created by Salinger?
Did you know he’s written five novels now and that this may be his best, even better than Edisto?
Speaking of Salinger, what do you think about the fact that he’s died? Had his seclusion left him dead to you already? Do you wonder what he was doing all those years up in Cornish? Do you wonder what he left behind? Don’t you think by now that some reporter would have gotten a hold of his will?
Would you like me to return to Powell now?
Maybe I should repeat that this is a masterful book, a stunning novel, yes, a novel, even though there’s no discernable plot? But there is a story, isn’t there?
I should tell you that I think it would be impossible to read this book and not end up with a picture of the narrator, shouldn’t I?
I should tell you that I think his sadness, isolation almost leap up off the page, shouldn’t I?
Have you ever read a book where the narrator asks so many questions — the book, after all, has interrogative in the title — yet never comes across as an interrogator, as a prosecutor? Where he’s asking all the questions yet seems to be involving you in the conversation in his life?
Are you prepared to be challenged? Do you understand that I’m trying to tell you that it’s not an easy book but it’s well worth the effort?
Would you be surprised if I told you that despite the hundreds and hundreds of questions — probably over a thousand — it’s actually a relatively short book, only 164 pages?
Do you think I should have quoted from the book? Would you be upset if I told you that I didn’t because I really think you should read it on your own, from start to finish, letting each question build on the one before?
Have I made it clear that I thought this book is an astounding accomplishment that should be read?
Have you bought it yet?