The Interrogative Mood of Donald Barthelme

Donald Barthelme:
short story master

In the latest New Yorker: Fiction podcast, Debra Treisman talks with Salman Rushdie about Donald Barthelme's short story, Concerning the Bodyguard. After reading the selection, which is composed almost entirely of questions, Rushdie discusses various aspects of the interrogative mood used in the story.

What is the benefit of the interrogative mood in this story and in fiction in general? Can it represent the uncertainty of a character? Is it meant to set a threatening tone as if one were being interrogated? Does the interrogative mood make one feel a bit uneasy or maybe guilt ridden? Who is asking the questions, the writer, the reader or the main character in the story? Why, in this story does the author use two declaratory statements? Does he feel certain aspects of the story need to be grounded in fact? Why is this story of special importance to Salman Rusdie? Can one sustain the interrogative mood for the length of an entire novel? Didn't Padgett Powell write a book called the Interrogative Mood? Can you think of any other novels or stories in which the interrogative mood is used?

Have you clicked on the link above and listened to Salman Rushdie read Concerning the Bodyguard by Donald Barthelme? Why wouldn't you? Any questions?