Padgett Powell (Edisto) is back with You & Me--a nod in the direction of Vladimir and Estragon, those two great talkers in Waiting for Godot. Call it absurdist, call it experimental fiction, postmodernist; whatever it is, just sit back and enjoy the ride.
In endless dialogue, the pair talk about the definitions of words they like: trepanning, furring strips, Craigiator, irrigable, wizened, pustulent; silly names like Studio Becalmed and Something Twice, Constant Rectitude and Inherent Muddle. They also expound, in hilariously ribald fashion, about sex and love, love and sex, body parts, girls and women lost and found and how they felt about them, yielding gems of insight and expression: "Those were the days in which hormones ran like gurgling brooks in our veins and melted our knees with need."
Then, inevitably, they begin to feel the horizon shortening and decide that they must "live every day of our lives as if it's the last day of our life. Let's see: that's LEDOOLAIITLDOOL. It sounds like a Mayan god." They think about that for a while and decide "there is a point after which the jokes stop and we have to figure out how to die." From there, one of them is moved to say, "I am too tired to any longer not be insensitive. It takes a lot of energy to be sensitive."
Don't be fooled into thinking that this is a trivial book. Stay with it and the payoffs are marvelous. --Valerie Ryan, Cannon Beach Book Company, Ore.