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 Literary Classics Review   

 
Mrs. Hollingsworth's Men
By Padgett Powell
LSU (Voices of the South reprint series), 2002
Trade paper, $15.95 (134 pages)
ISBN: 0-8071-2842-2
 
 
 

Mrs. Hollingsworth is dissatisfied. Her days are routine and her life is dull. At fifty, she recognizes ennui. She and her husband are virtual strangers since their daughters have left the nest. Her rage, long internalized, expresses itself in the desire to pour Drano down the plumbers' sagging pants. And maybe "Muriatric acid for the driveway contractor, liquid chlorine for the pool man, shot of Raid for the bug man...."

Though housebound, Hollingsworth doesn't lack imagination. She starts a list, ostensibly for groceries, that takes her as well as the reader through a hallucinogenic look at the Civil War hero General Nathan Bedford Forrest of Tennessee. 

Fanciful and sassy by turns, the novella's ending is richly satisfying. 

Padgett Powell is the author of four novels and two story collections in addition to Mrs. Hollingsworth's Men -- Edisto, A Woman Named Drown, Typical, Edisto Revisited, and Aliens of Affection. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Paris Review, The New Yorker, Esquire, and the Oxford American. He has won the Prix de Rome, the Paris Review's John Train Humor Prize, a Whiting Foundation Writers Award, and a Pushcart Prize. He lives in Gainesville, Florida and teaches at the University of Florida.

 

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews
 

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