At her kitchen table somewhere in the South, Powell's narrator embarks on a spirited and often hilarious imagining of certain historical figures and current national preoccupations. Ostensibly writing her grocery list, Mrs. Hollingsworth most happily loses her sense of herself until her family intrudes along with two petty criminals named Oswald ...
At her kitchen table somewhere in the South, Powell's narrator embarks on a spirited and often hilarious imagining of certain historical figures and current national preoccupations. Ostensibly writing her grocery list, Mrs. Hollingsworth most happily loses her sense of herself until her family intrudes along with two petty criminals named Oswald and Bundy.
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Publishers Weekly, 2000-10-02 There is a trick to reading Powell's evocative daydream of a novel: don't stop halfway across this swinging bridge between reality and the eponymous protagonist's phantasmic imagination. Don't stop and, above all, don't look down. Powell (Edisto; A Woman Named Drown) has a practice of subtly slidingDor suddenly snatchingDwhat seems to be the landscape of his fiction from under the reader's nose and replacing it with something else entirely. Seated at her kitchen table somewhere in the South, the middle-aged Mrs. Hollingsworth is making a grocery list. Not a list of eggs and bread and detergent, but a list of people as diverse as Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, Lee Harvey Oswald and Ted Bundy, who appear in her head as holograms more real than her "indistinct" husband or her "Tupperware" daughters, who think she is losing her mind. In fact, she is writing down her jumble of thoughts in order to find her mental equilibrium and to make some sense of what is wrong with the world. Powell turns his eccentric vision on our common cultural conceits, for example: "the NPR rockettes... They were an army of presumers who presumed to legislate what everyone else did, thought, felt, should do, should think, should feel." Mrs. Hollingsworth conjures up General Forrest as the man to oppose the army of presumers. Yet there is a hint of romance on the battlefield in Mrs. Hollingsworth's head as she fights to win her skirmish with the surreal. Powell writes with clarity and grace about unseen territory, and his idiosyncratic humor succeeds in connecting the Civil War to the bizarre angst of a woman whose metaphysical "shopping list" will nourish herself and "whatever hungry fools came by to partake of her improbable food." (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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