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"Before you know it as the years go by, you're just like other people you have seen, with all those peculiar human ailments. Just another vehicle for temper and vanity and rashness and all the rest. Who wants it? Who needs it? These things occupy the place where a man's soul should be." -- Henderson the Rain King

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Book #40 on my reading list this year was Walker Percy's National Book Award winning The Moviegoer.

Percy described his novel as the story of "a young man (Binx Bolling) who had all the advantages of a cultivated old-line southern family: a feel for science and art, a liking for girls, sports cars, and the ordinary things of the culture, but who nevertheless feels himself quite alienated from both worlds, the old South and the new America." Binx reminded me a lot of the thinking man characters found in the novels of Richard Ford, Saul Bellow, and Phillip Roth (pretty good company). He is a man on the proverbial existential quest to find himself, a task he titles 'the search'.

"What is the nature of the search? you ask. Really it is very simple; at least for a fellow like me. So simple that it is often overlooked. The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life." -- Binx Bolling

Preach on brother Binx. The best part of the book to me was the wonderful nuggets of wisdom which sneak up and bite you every few pages. It's about as quotable a book as I've read.

Speaking of quotes, (how do you like that segue?) here's the main blurb from the back of the book which I found sort of amusing.

"Percy is one of the supplest and most deftly modulated new voices in Southern literature"
Deftly modulated? Supple? Huh? I also like that he's only 'one the supplest'. Apparently there's plenty of supple to go around. Anyways, here's a more traditional kudo that resonated more with me:
"Mr. Percy is a breathtakingly brilliant writer." -- The New York Times Book Review
Blogcritics review