Sunday, January 4, 2009

In which I question myself

Walker Percy....I love your name but how you confuse me. I read your novel The Second Coming in college and actually enjoyed it. If I remember right, it's because it ended hopefully. Your first and most well-known novel, The Moviegoer, is just too existential for me. (Funny--I had to look up how to spell that word; that's how much I don't care for existentialism--I don't even know how to spell it.)

The main character, Jack "Binx" Bolling is the type of guy I just want to smack: meandering, undecisive, etc. He's searching for God--in his own way--and seems to be slightly crazy, in my opinion. But hey, that's okay, because he has his (step-)cousin Kate who understands him, because she's crazy as well.

Seriously though, the two of them wonder about the meaning of life and both fall into despair so easily. I'm not an existential sort of person at all--my faith in God is strong. Binx and I think so differently that I couldn't understand him.

On a side note, the book was published in the early 1960s, and other than Mary Stewart or Elizabeth Peters, I have hardly read anything from that era. I found myself being fascinated by silly little things--for example, Binx gets in a car wreck and the other driver, who caused it, just drives away. I started thinking about insurance and wondering if they had car insurance back then and how Binx didn't seem mad that it was a hit-and-run and how he'll have to pay for his little car to be fixed...and yeah, see how unexistential I am?

To be far, this is considered a great American novel but that doesn't mean I enjoyed reading it!

Rating: 5/10


Anonymous said...

I agree completely. I did a massive book exchange about four years ago with my girlfriend (at the time) and one of the books was Movie Goer. I generally enjoy the language/depiction of the 'southern way of life', but found this book to be a bit 'out there'. I appreciated the poetic undertones of his work, and found some of his interactions where he was forced to define himself again and again to be interesting, but indeed as you said ....'existential'
- Tom

Zeek said...

Rachel, wasn't sure how to contact you otherwise, but I had to draw another name for my recent contest since the one winner never got back to me and guess what?


Contact me ASAP with you name and address and I'll get your book to you!



rachel said...

Tom, "out there" is a good term to describe it. :) I like Percy's later works...perhaps he's more settled in his own searches, so his writing reflects that.