The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I just finished The Moviegoer for the second time. The first time was in college when I was a little too headstrong and mired in my own wonder to accept the ennui of Binx Bollings as more than irritating. Now that I am that guy, sans the love of movies, I can relate to it a lot better, and loved the book
The thing that struck me in this reading is that I really couldn't stand Binx until he got out of New Orleans and started to unravel a little. In the city, I felt about him the way I do about anyone moping around a city bursting with life - you live in an actual vibrant place and you are killing your time with the movies? But of course, the movies are just a manifestation of the greater rut of modern living, and "the wonder" hit me as wondering what is up over that rut wall without bothering to pull your self up to take a look.
The copy I read from the LSU library was hopelessly graffitoed with the highlightings and margin comments of many an eager English student. Walker Percy is considered the writer to deal with in these parts. With each double-circled "wonder" or "search" I smiled; it was sweet to remember that kind of zeal for what one reads but really, the book was nearly rendered illegible for its praise and surface analysis, which I think can be extended beyond this one copy to the book in general, and maybe even Southern literature itself.
The trick, as with everything, is being able to read something like this for itself and look past the circled phrases and underscores to get at what's real and important, the fundamental search in which our intrepid narrator was really engaged.
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