Sunday, July 8, 2012

You & I, Padgett Powell


If you're looking for a humorous book to read this summer, pick up YOU & ME, a novel by Padgett Powell. A modern day WAITING FOR GODOT, YOU & ME chronicles the conversations between two men, sitting on a porch somewhere between Bakersfield, California and Jacksonville, Florida. The men use a methodology akin to a modern day Socrates. The topics selected for discussion run from the profound -- e.g., how to live everyday as if it's your last -- to the mundane -- e.g., walking to the nearby liquor store while wearing orange jumpsuits and orange electrical cords. There is the juxtaposition of the ghosts of Julia Childs and Crazy Horse; the hair on Custer and on turtles; the Coppertone girl and Buster Brown. One of my favorites, however, is the discussion of feeling insurance:

     "The premiums would be impossible, the actuarial tables a nightmare.
     And this is why Lloyds does not offer it. Blues insurance. Quite an idea.
     Verification tricky. Who would not claim?"

Powell is witty, sardonic, and clever. Take a look at the ups and downs of modern day America. Check out YOU & ME!

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