You & Me is a novel in dialogue: two old men with only one another for company chew the fat. The fat itself? Politics, pop culture, language and the benefits of attaching a saddle pommel to one’s underpants. By the end, the chattering, nameless duo wait to see which will befall them first: death or madness.
As with Powell’s unique 2009 experiment, The Interrogative Mood, a plotless novel written as a series of questions, You & Me eschews narrative in favour of philosophical and comical conceits. It fails, however, to deliver either the sense of intimacy or surprise the former title achieved. The characters, who do little to distinguish their voices from each other, are lyrically gifted, restless, clever and odd – what they are not is endearing. The more these yokel savants invent companions (such as their imaginary dog, Studio Becalmed), spit non sequiturs and rant, the more the book feels like an endless torrent of verbiage. Matthew Love