Gathering pieces written during the past three decades, Indigo ranges widely in subject matter and tone, opening with "Cleve Dean," which takes Padgett Powell to Sweden for the World Armwrestling Federation Championships, through to its closing title piece, which charts Powell's lifelong fascination with the endangered indigo snake, "a thinking snake," and his obsession with seeing one in the wild.
Powell seems to me all of these things: a champion in the shadows, a rare creature, a delicious hybrid — and a major American writer, if one whose name isn’t on the tip of everybody’s tongue these days ... The volume’s 18 essays span four decades and are unified by his unmistakable voice, which in turn makes Indigo of a piece with his works of fiction ... His prose commands the page ... And so the prose keeps you going through the pages of Indigo, whatever the subject matter. I am not particularly interested in gumbo, in dogs, in Bill Wegman’s kitschy photographs of dogs...but I kept reading about them because of Powell’s majestic and often majestically long sentences. Powell’s wonderfully digressive portraits of writers bob and weave and then suddenly zero in on essential imperatives ... Thank you, Padgett Powell.
[A] winning collection ... With infectious curiosity and sympathy, Powell covers literature, sports, and the American South ... Powell’s prose is razor-sharp, and locales such as New Orleans and Bermuda come alive through his shrewd eye and distinctive storytelling. His insightful observations on the craft and teaching of writing...are a bonus. This will delight Powell’s fans and should gain him some new ones, too.
If this volume collects exhumed work, it has no air of mothballs about it ... If Powell has stopped writing, he’s going out swinging with a fine left hook ... Memorable reflections on writing and life from an author who pulls no punches.