Mrs. Hollingsworth's Men

Mrs Hollingsworth s Men At her kitchen table somewhere in the South Padgett Powell s narrator embarks on a spirited and often hilarious imagining of certain historical figures and current national preoccupations Ostensibly

  • Title: Mrs. Hollingsworth's Men
  • Author: Padgett Powell
  • ISBN: 9780618071685
  • Page: 217
  • Format: Hardcover
  • At her kitchen table somewhere in the South, Padgett 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 Her list becomes a discovery of the things she has and those she lacks, including men At her kitchen table somewhere in the South, Padgett 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 Her list becomes a discovery of the things she has and those she lacks, including men even her own husband Mrs Hollingsworth begins her list by imagining a lost love story in which she is playful with and disdainful of the conventions of Southern literature Soon tiring of that, she decides to turn up her imagination For reasons unclear to her, the Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, an icon of the Lost Cause, rides into her tired lost love story He appears as a hologram created by a media giant, Roopit Mogul, who aims to find the real New Southerner in a man who can recognize General Forrest s image Into this surreal atmosphere enter Mrs Hollingsworth s all too real daughters, the forgotten husband, Mr and Mrs Mogul, the boys of the neighborhood, and petty criminals named Oswald and Bundy Within this singular narrative collage, strong tenderness arises, with accounts of genuine lost love, both familial and wholly romantic MRS HOLLINGSWORTH S MEN is a remarkable achievement, full of style and feeling.

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    2 thoughts on “Mrs. Hollingsworth's Men

    1. Padgett Powell is the author of four novels, including Edisto, which was nominated for the National Book Award His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper s, The Paris Review, Esquire, and other publications, as well as in the anthologies Best American Short Stories and Best American Sports Writing He lives in Gainesville, Florida, where he teaches writing at MFA FLA, the writing program of the University of Florida.

    2. [Reviewed in 2001]How many struggling writers wouldn’t give their eyeteeth to be in Padgett Powell’s predicament? Since the publication of Edisto, his highly praised 1984 debut novel about a young boy’s eccentric upbringing in the Deep South, Powell has been in lonely competition with himself to fulfill the promise of his first book’s success. Unfortunately, subsequent short story collections and novels (including an oddly muted sequel, Edisto Revisited, in 1996) have failed to build the [...]

    3. padgett powell likes fiddling w/words throwing them together in combination rarely seen together: "a new petroleum air of virgin potential resides there, but only until the volvos and the skateboards pull in. the volvos discharge baby strollers and easy-listening fm, the skateboards the funk of boys, all taming the new wilderness."thus wrote mrs. hollingsworth, 50-something, hell bent on purpose, or toward purpose, splay-footed or otherwise i can't tells. hollingsworth "entertained this thought: [...]

    4. I strongly encourage everyone to read Padgett Powell. You'll find quite the lyrical, often satirical, prose of an undervalued American writer of fathomless talent. And to say that his stories are uniquely original is to understate the case. This particular work made me laugh, made me giggle, and even made my shake my head in wonder more than a few times.Padgett's ability to get inside his characters' heads is on full display here and the results are nothing less than grand entertainment.

    5. This is a fantastic and absurd view of the modern south. Powell wrote the book Tom Robbins is incapable of writing; meaningful, funny and poignant without being ridiculous. It's believable at the same time as completely ungrounded. It releases all guards that Powell had earlier in his career and does so in a short amount of time.Sorry about the Robbins jab I just don't care about him at all.

    6. For the first third I knew not what was going on, but then suddenly, like a rainfall of jigsaw pieces that land puzzle-perfect, it all became clear and good.I like 'Edisto' more, but I like Mrs H's Men some much.

    7. I am not surprised that so many reviewers hate this book; it certainly isn't for everyone. It is a delving, climbing, disecting, knitting kind of romp that maybe most will find pointless; but I loved.

    8. This is a strange novel. It has a tremendous amount of promise, and Powell is excellent at his best. and Mrs. Hollingsworth's Men has redeeming qualities: it is atmospheric, and captures the daydreaming life of a middle aged southern woman. However it skips across boundaries in a way that seems more distracting than it does novel. It is at once noir, gothic, and southern, without ever truly becoming any of those.

    9. Maybe i'm not smart enough, but I just didn't get this book at all. In this short novel, Padgett Powell uses the character of the constantly daydreaming Mrs. Hollingsworth attempt to say something about the south and southern literature. At least, that's what I think he was going for?This is a weird swirl of characters who are never named, southern slang, and dreams that all blend together in a way that I just couldn't figure out what was happening. On top of the confusing nature of it, I felt l [...]

    10. Evocative of Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, with non-conventional, stream of consciousness, and what I expected would be dinner party preparations. But although both are based on a 51-year old married woman with a 3-syllable surname, Mrs H is written in as masculine a hand as Mrs D is a feminine one; and the grocery list Mrs H is creating turns out to be more of a literary manifesto than anything to do with the collection of characters in her head that she may or may not have fed dessert to. Th [...]

    11. Powell takes us steadily through the dog-brained logic of reason and the lack thereof--one step leads to the next, so once a shopping list incorporates a couple of lackeys touting a hologram machine projecting the figure of a Confederate general in order to find the man who represents the New South, we will only pursue that logic to its inevitable conclusion. Mrs. Hollingsworth battles her past and the open prospect of a Who Knows future, and her broken mind translates that accordingly.

    12. It was a fun read, but felt choppy. I absolutely loved the writing style from the beginning, but after the first chapter it seemed to rapidly undergo shifts and it took a while to figure out what was going on (but not in a good way). Regardless, it's a short book and worth reading for the writing, even if the story itself isn't what gripped me.

    13. Strange and strangely endearing little book. Mrs. Hollingsworth's grocery list turns into something else entirely as she fantasizes herself out of her tedious life with her non-entity of a husband. Her daughters think she is losing her mind but she is finding it again.

    14. I'm not generally a fan of books with a lot of stream of consciousness writing. It's just too meandering, all over the place and unfocused for me. This book employs that style and I found myself barely able to finish it.

    15. this is some weird stuff- at first. But after applying a little pressure, the barrier yields and inside is gorgeous, funny, awkwardly poetic, strangely beautiful writing.

    16. Okay, I hated this book. Really hated it. Call it surreal. Call it post-modern. Call it meta. Whatever. I call it self-indulgent rubbish. F.

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