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!Download Book ⚖ The Moviegoer ☣ The Dazzling Novel That Established Walker Percy As One Of The Major Voices In Southern Literature Is Now Available For The First Time In Vintage Paperback The Moviegoer Is Binx Bolling, A Young New Orleans Stockbroker Who Surveys The World With The Detached Gaze Of A Bourbon Street Dandy Even As He Yearns For A Spiritual Redemption He Cannot Bring Himself To Believe In On The Eve Of His Thirtieth Birthday, He Occupies Himself Dallying With His Secretaries And Going To Movies, Which Provide Him With The Treasurable Moments Absent From His Real Life But One Fateful Mardi Gras, Binx Embarks On A Hare Brained Quest That Outrages His Family, Endangers His Fragile Cousin Kate, And Sends Him Reeling Through The Chaos Of New Orleans French Quarter Wry And Wrenching, Rich In Irony And Romance, The Moviegoer Is A Genuine American Classic I couldn t get through this book Percy writes a detailed and interesting setting, and a meandering narrator main character.But really, I think the same way about this as I do books like Emma As in, why do I care if rich idiots are sad about their affluent lifestyle that is free of any socio economic or actual danger Oh, poor rich white middle aged depressed man, who makes a lot of money, is breathlessly racist and sexist, and spends all his time manuvering to get his secretaries into bed Get a life. This review contains spoilers New Orleans, 1960 s Jack Binx Bolling is 30, comes from a well off background, makes his money as a stock broker, and likes girls, and oh yes, he likes going to movies.a lot But Binx is not happy, he is stuck, going without direction, without purpose problem is, he doesn t know where to go, what to do next His distant cousin, Kate Cutrer, he can relate to She is also stuck, mainly because she suffers severe psychological issues There is a connection with them, they understand one another, and their destinies are seemingly meant to be entwined.I loved this book, I loved these characters, not because they were perfect, but because they were not I could relate to them, I think most people can And I think that is why this book is loved by so many It makes you think about why you are where you are, why you are doing what you are doing, and what you ultimately want out of life And, by the way, the writing is simply outstanding The Moviegoer is deserving of being called an American Classic It s on both Time Magazine s and Modern Library s top 100 novels of the 20th century.1962 National Book Award winner. Shitty, shitty book With no plot worse, no climax, whatsoever Justpretty megabaffling All hail the Biblioracle, for his powers are immense I realize that many of you will not be acquainted with this prophet of proper book choices He writes a column for the Chicago Tribune s weekly book review supplement Aside from short essays on book related topics think pithier versions of chapters in Anne Fadiman s Ex Libris , he invites readers to submit their own five most recent selections from which he divines the next one that should go on the list It s a fun exercise for someone like the Biblioracle a.k.a author John Warner whose mother ran a bookstore in his youth, always ready with suggestions Anyway, I submitted my own list, cheating just a little by including only the ones I really liked, and waited to see what the man with the oracular gift would suggest Turns out his recommendation, Skippy Dies, was one I d already read and loved, confirming his wisdom and reach When I explained this in a mail, he graciously conjured up another one for me To give him a little to go on, I mentioned that I d recently been smitten by Wallace Stegner s Angle of Repose This rather long winded introduction explains how his choice for me, Walker Percy s classic, The Moviegoer, now shows up on your screen.I can see why he chose it after I mentioned Stegner The writing is very good, there s an enticing complexity to the characters, and it has a strong sense of place John Bickerson Binx Bolling is on the cusp of 30 He returned home as a wounded war vet and settled into a relatively successful job as a stockbroker in New Orleans His passions in life are movies had you guessed , sporty cars, quirky family members, and the nicely curved back sides of his young secretaries But is it enough His personal Search for suggests that it s not.From other reviews I ve read, it s clear I m not the only one to have picked up on a certain existential uneasiness here In fact, I d say the best thing about the book is trying to get a read on what exactly Binx is seeking out with his search Percy was vague He must have wanted us to speculate Though there were tangible elements to it a possible change in career in line with his aptitude for medical research, for one, or a good mate to share his life with, for another , the bulk of his searching was abstract Lines like this hint at a moral or spiritual dimension My mother s family think I have lost my faith and they pray for me to recover it My father s family think that the world makes sense without God and that anyone but an idiot knows what the good life is and anyone but a scoundrel can lead it.But it seems to go deeper still into a psyche that s in conflict with the escapist movies that he enjoys, the carnal pleasures that temporarily soothe his soul, and the easy charm he plies for surface connections On the other side of the ledger lies a pretty profound Weltschmerz When he says, all the friendly and likeable people seem dead to me only the haters seem alive, his crisis seems real In common shorthand, I guess you could say it s a search for meaning a way to reconcile his world weary thoughts with what well functioning folks intuit to be the good life It was a theme with heft to spare Had that been all there was, it might have seemed a tad ponderous Percy may have sensed that, knowing to provide lighter fare as sides Occasional humor helped the cause And like many from the South, his language was rich and entertaining Consider, too, that while it s a clich to refer to a place as another character, has it ever not applied to NOLA Speaking of characters, there was a wealth of good ones beyond Binx and New Orleans One was his aunt, a woman of rare insight and suasion Another was his aunt s step daughter, Kate, who was Binx s kindred spirit, and maybe even a love interest She d had some bad luck, though, and the thread she was hanging from was looking pretty thin Such plot as there was had Binx and Kate driving.If you re at all curious about well written, character driven, Southern existentialism, you should give this compact little prize winner a try The Biblioracle knew to recommend it to me, and I m grateful that he did Four very solid stars. The Moviegoer Walker Percy s Novel of If That s All There Is Is that all there is, is that all there isIf that s all there is my friends, then let s keep dancingLet s break out the booze and have a ballIf that s all there is Jerry Leiber Mike Stoller If Walker Percy s The Moviegoer ever hits the screen, I m sure Peggy Lee singing Is That All There Is will be on the soundtrack And, if Binx Bolling is there to see it, I wonder if he ll recognize himself.Not in the mood for a little Camus No Jean Paul Sartre Well, The Moviegoer probably won t be your cup of tea either It s existentialism Southern style, starring Binx Bolling a member of the well bred Bolling clan from Felicianas Parish, you know, Audobon s Happy Land, where America s best known ornithologist killed his specimens in order to paint them, and for some reason was dismissed than once by well bred families whose daughters he was tutoring, or something or other.It s not that Binx hasn t had significant events occur in his life that made him wonder what s it all about After all, his father, committed suicide Then there was that nasty little police action in Korea, during which he and his squad got caught in a tangle of barbed wire while being surrounded by Red Chinese troops blowing those bugles It s all a bit disturbing After his excursion to the Orient, Binx heads home to New Orleans, where the family has now settled Strong willed Aunt Emily who has served as his guardian sends Binx off to college, sure that he has a purpose filled life ahead of him However, Binx, the classic fraternity man, drifts through college without obtaining a single honor.Binx settles into professional life as a small time stockbroker in New Orleans Although he is welcome to live in the family home in The Garden District, he kicks over the old family traces and rents an apartment in the Gentilly district, filled with Arts and Crafts bungalows and raised cottages Our anti hero is much happier sitting in a darkened theater, content to while away his time watching the flickering images on the screen He studies the movements and gestures of Gregory Peck and has Akim Tamaroff down to a tee Catching William Holden strolling through the French Quarter is a highlight of one particular day in his life.Binx tells us, The fact is I am quite happy in a movie, even a bad movie Other people, so I have read, treasure memorable moments in their lives the time one climbed the Parthenon at sunrise, the summer night one met a lonely girl in Central Park and achieved with her a sweet and natural relationship, as they say in books I too once met a girl in Central Park, but it is not much to remember What I remember is the time John Wayne killed three men with a carbine as he was falling to the dusty street in Stagecoach, and the time the kitten found Orson Welles in the doorway in The Third Man In addition to movies, Binx finds brief moments of solace in sex Being a stockbroker requires a secretary He has a string of them all named either Linda or Marcia Acting Gregory Peckerish, Binx is quite adept at bedding his secretaries who have the essential interchangeable body parts along with their interchangeable names However, brief moments of happiness only turn into a general malaise Binx is on some indefinable Search for some indefinable purpose After all, if one is not on to something, one is in despair Kierkegaard had a few things to say about that.The action in The Moviegoer takes place during one week of Mardi Gras, when the entire city takes on an identity of its own, giving the novel a background of the absurd During that week, Aunt Emily will attempt to persuade Binx, about to turn thirty, to consider going to medical school She will pay all expenses He will have the studio behind the house with total privacy to pursue what she offers as a purpose filled life.Is this the end of Binx s Search There is the complication of cousin Kate, Binx s female counterpart to whom he proposes marriage She, too, is on her own Search, having lost her college love in a car wreck years ago, lost in despair and depression with a predilection for a hand full of Nembutal While half heartedly wooing Kate, Binx is pursuing his latest secretary, Sharon All in all, Binx is a bit of a cad, seeking the momentary pleasure as opposed to a lasting pleasure filled life The Moviegoer is a bitter pill to swallow However, it is a masterpiece of loneliness that each of us has experienced at some point in our lives Brilliantly written, this is a novel that deserved the National Book Award given in 1962 Percy has earned his slots on The Modern Library List of 100 Novels and Time Magazine s Greatest 100.Now, that s done Ah, yes Peggy Lee I think I ll break out the booze and have a ball It s rather early Perhaps I should make that a Bloody Mary One for me One for you Save this one for a rainy day Monday Don t they always get you down EDIT today, this statue of Walker was placed near the river where we kayak It is also the annual weekend of his memorial literary fest in St Francisville I feel lucky to live where we do Novelist Walker Percy appears in Covington s Bogue Falaya Parkhttp www.nola.com northshore index.Beautiful sentiments by the sculptor he was actually friends with Percyhttps tammanyfamily.blogspot.com 20ORIGINAL POSTWalker Percy lived about six miles from my house, so it was obviously a joy to have read this book set in our neck of the woods It s been too many years since I read this to comment on details but I ve got a warning and a betcha never knew this piece of trivia.First, I would warn new readers that the book is a time capsule In order to truly appreciate it, one has to consider how women and minorities were treated half a century ago well, or in Hollywood like last year Patting a woman s rump isn t going to win any admiration from today s society, but as far as historical accuracy goes, you ll get a taste of it here Roll with it The book is existential and a serious read but I imagine that at the time it was published, the main character s propensity to hire and fall in love with a series of beautiful secretaries may have been some light relief to all the serious introspection Now, there are scads of reviews of this terrific book out there and all of them penned by readers far eloquent than me But here s the tidbit you may not see anywhere else For those who have sampled the outstanding books written by Ron Rash, you will recall that small little actions of his characters speak volumes of unspoken or unwritten words In one of my favorite novels by Rash, a character walks into the 1920s board room of a timber camp office It is luxurious as only a space can be amidst mud caked shanties and a decimated forest, now razed for its timber There is serious money a fortune in these virgin trees As one feline predator of a woman strides in her name is Serena she spies the massive meeting table in the center of the room It is a solid slab of one single behemoth tree Serena leans over and slowly glides her hand over this conquered wood and practically purrs.I was doing an author chat with Ron Rash regarding this dark masterpiece of his and noted something really unusual to him By sheer coincidence, I d been reading The Movie Goer the week prior to our author dial in, and holy slabbed trees, Batman When The Movie Goer s Binx walks into an uptown Garden District home, of all the gorgeous and ornate furnishings, he singles out only a beautiful table to admire Its top is made of one solitary slab of a massive tree He slides his hand along it, reveling in the luxury My question to Rash was did slabbed tables at one time define affluence Ron Rash was thrilled to hear my little parallel discovery It turns out that he did his doctoral dissertation on Walker Percy That fawning hand slide in Serena was an homage an Easter Egg to The Movie Goer Nobody had ever noticed it before Now you too are in on the secret Enjoy the book Southern Existentialism New Orleans is both intimately related to the South and yet in a real sense cut adrift not only from the South but the rest of Louisiana A proper enough American city and yet within the next few hours the tourist is apt to see nuns and naked women than he ever saw before.Walker PercyI love this Percy quote because he so aptly captures the essence of this city below sea level, affectionately known as The Big Easy Walker Percy was awarded the National Book Award for this 1961 novel his first novel centered on Binx Bolling, a detached and depressive thirty year old stockbroker in 1960 New Orleans, and his quest for purpose and redemption, through movies and literature until, finally, he makes life altering discoveries in life during the week of Mardi Gras In it, Percy explores ideas of cultural and spiritual alienation with a light lyrical tone while drawing on elements of Dante by paralleling his life to that of the Divine Comedy s narrator.Binx s aunt asks him to watch over his suicidal female cousin during the Mardi Gras season Binx describes his life in terms of the aesthetic, religious and ethical, in his search for meaning and spiritual redemption He constantly daydreams, cannot maintain sexual relationships and finds meaning and urgency in movies and books than in his own humdrum life He reflects on race and class as he wanders the streets of the French Quarter and travels along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, reflecting on the people and things he encounters, as he provides numerous elegant descriptions of Southern landscapes and an enlightened Southerner s perspective on escaping, for the most part, the legacy of the Old South 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 easily overlooked The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life This is my favorite novel of all time It is the story of Binx Bolling, a successful, socially prominent New Orleans stockbroker from an old and wealthy family, and how he faces his life in the week of Carnival leading up to his thirtieth birthday on Ash Wednesday Binx is an avid and successful skirtchaser, but he really loves his stepcousin Kate, a manic depressive The book tells us that a life spent seeking happiness is almost doomed to failure, that happiness, both as a concept and as a reality, is difficult to grasp and difficult to retain Instead we might strive for a life of alert, intelligent engagement with those around us It will involve pain as well as pleasure, but it is an approach that gives us the possibility of authenticity Joy and sadness come by turns, I know now Beauty and bravery make you sad, and victory breaks your heart, but life goes on, and on we go The six or seven major characters just about the right number show us how many ways there are of dealing with the world and with one another We are not sure how the lives of Binx and Kate and the others end up, but we see how the world affects them and they affect the world This is, in a sense, a very modern novel To give an example, there is a scene in which Kate comes to Binx at 3 00 in the morning Binx has been warned by his aunt that this is a possibility, so he is sitting in the bus stop in front of his house when Kate s taxi pulls up They discuss their lives and their possible marriage, and, as dawn approaches, the disease comes upon Kate again Ohhhh, Kate groans, Kate herself now, I m so afraid I know What am I going to do You mean right now Yes First we ll go to my car Then we ll drive to the French Market and get some coffee Then we ll go home Is everything going to be all right Yes Tell me Say it Everything is going to be all right In an older, classical literature, Everything is going to be all right would mean just that I ll see to it that the bills are paid and your power seeking brother won t kill your sons and the crops will come in every year Binx knows that he is unable to give this kind of assurance, because life is not like that I think that what his Everything is going to be all right means is that things may go well, things may not go well, but Binx will face it all with Kate, no matter the difficulties of standing with her In this case, I am convinced, Everything is going to be all right is the functional equivalent of I love you And in the contemporary world, maybe that is the best we can do, and maybe it is enough. I come away from The Moviegoer with very mixed feelings Walker Percy was a beautiful writer, and I found myself reading several passages than once just to enjoy the language, but I think I may be too old, even at 35, to truly appreciate and connect with a novel driven almost completely by existential feelings It s not that I never personally feel existential dread I do, far often than I d like but, for the most part, I got the reading of these types of novels out of my system as a teenager That s when I read Camus s The Stranger, for instance I probably should have read about Binx Bolling s search for meaning in the modern world back then.What s weird about that is that I m now far closer to both Binx s age and place in life than I was as a teenager And maybe that s the problem Perhaps these kinds of books are meant to prepare us for where we will be later in life or even allow us to say to ourselves, full of self righteousness, I ll never be like that rather than reflect our lives as they are today Maybe it s just too much to take, hitting us too close to where we live now.That all being said, I want to go back to my first point The Moviegoer really does have some wonderful writing This passage, from after Binx tries unsuccessfully to consummate an affair the mind was willing, but the flesh wasn t is just one example I never worked so hard in my life, Rory I had no choice the alternative was unspeakable Christians talk about the horror of sin, but they have overlooked something They keep talking as if everyone were a sinner, when the truth is that nowadays one is hardly up to it There is very little sin in the depths of the malaise The highest moment of a malaisian s life can be that moment when he manages to sin like a proper human Look at us, Binx my vagabond friends as good as cried out to me we re sinning We re succeeding We re human after all.It d be hard to argue with Binx on that point.