Ian Frazier says “Padgett Powell is one of the best writers in America—and one of the funniest, too.” His stories are cousin to Barry Hannah’s (read the masterpiece Typical), his ear for dialog is Weltian, and I believe him to be Faulkner’s closest stylistic kin. Not at all derivative, though--his writing is aggressively his own. You and Me will conjure up Godot for smarties, but me, I’m thinking “Water Liars.” Basically, two baby-boomer geezers (yes, that’s us) with nothing better in this world to do sit around and jaw about stuff: “Things disturb them.” Just a few of those things are sex, Parker shotguns, Miles Davis, fishing, R. Crumb, cowardice, Jayne Mansfield, lard-and-hair sandwiches, nihilism, dogs, Tarzan, GERD, Sherman, Oz, people who should die of a terrible virus (tyrants, driving cell-phone talkers, litterbugs), and the deaths of Julia Child and Ray Charles, which “contributed directly to the collapse of Life as we thought we knew it.” As the guys put it, they “are talky bums with decent clothes and odor under control but bums all the same...” Powell craycray for sure, but pert near genius. LH
PADGETT POWELL WILL BE A GUEST ON THACKER MOUNTAIN RADIO THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6. SIGNING AFTER THE SHOW.