Moviegoer Mass Market Paperback – Mar 12 1988
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This elegantly written account of a young man's search for signs of purpose in the universe is one of the great existential texts of the postwar era and is really funny besides. Binx Bolling, inveterate cinemaphile, contemplative rake and man of the periphery, tries hedonism and tries doing the right thing, but ultimately finds redemption (or at least the prospect of it) by taking a leap of faith and quite literally embracing what only seems irrational. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From the Back Cover
"Mr. Percy is a brethtakingly brilliant writer." --The New York Times Book Review
"Clothed in originality, intelligence, and a fierce regard for man's fate. . . . Percy has a rare talent for making his people look and sound as though they were being seen and heard for the first time by anyone." --Time
"A brilliant novel. . . . Percy touches the rim of so many human mysteries." --Harper's --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The true essence of the book is the journey through life that the protagonist takes, in search of avoiding the worst possible state, the "malaise of Everydayness." And even more so, the fight to not become "Anyone" exhibits the basic tenets of the characters focus and philosophy of life. He seeks to find newness that does not exist in the regular day to day vicissitudes of life, but something transcendent. And to fill the time in between, he searches constantly for pleasure, usually in the form of sex with his secretaries.
But as the book proceeds, it gets more and more personal, as well as, more and more complex. Examples of life experiences that the author often calls "rotations" or "duplications" are given. The concept of the "genie-soul" of each location in the world is explored. And the fight against the ordinary goes on.
As in life and existentialism, many of the questions posed are unanswerable, and the author does not really answer them, as any good existentialist writer would not answer them, because they are unanswerable. But it is the way the author portrays these unanswerable questions, that is so elegant and incisive. The reader understands the nebulous state the author is describing and asks himself these questions, but of course, does not have answers either, because, there are no answers, no definitive answers, to those questions.
The interplay of ennui and distinctiveness define the book.Read more ›
Of course, there really isn't anything outside everyday existence that can measure up to what he is seeking. The meaning of life, if indeed there is any, can only be found in the everyday things Binx regards as completely unfulfilling. This existentialist outlook is the underlying theme of The Moviegoer.
The plot (if that's even the right word) is a minimalistic one that very much suits this novel of the mind. Binx himself provides the narration. In doing so he affects a very formal, unnatural manner of speech, in which words like "thenceforward" and "eschatological" can and do appear.
The Moviegoer is a challenging work of fiction which gives the reader an authentic, nuanced description of life among New Orlean's upper class. Many readers, if not most, are likely to be turned off by its slow pace and seeming wordiness. A thoughtful, thought filled novel, not for everyone.
Binx finds himself at a veritable crossroads at the age of 30 as he has become incredibly disillusioned in a mundane world replete with phoniness and mediocrity. As he attempts to escape from this banality via movies and women, he finds that he is, along with his neurotic cousin Kate, searching for meaning in an otherwise fruitless life. As he duly states, "I have discovered that most people have no one to talk to, no one, that is, who really wants to listen." I recommend this book...just don't expect A Confederacy of Dunces, though.
"Where Happiness Costs So Little"
- The marquee's message at the theater in Gentilly
Most recent customer reviews
Walker Percy wrote the Moviegoer, a Southern novel with William Faulkner and Truman Capote in mind. The latter writers were certainly more famous though Percy won the National... Read morePublished on July 10 2004 by R. A Rubin
Subtle, well-crafted, and entertaining, certainly this multifaceted and edifying story is well worth the reading. Read morePublished on June 18 2004
The moviegoer is the story of a man who manages to put off questioning his life decisions until his 30th birthday, when they all come into question. Read morePublished on March 10 2004
This book came out quite a while back and it's still around. The reason for this probably has more to do with the wonderful character of Binx Bolling that it does with the... Read morePublished on Feb. 19 2004
This novel is good but I never got into it. It has too many references to movies and pop culture from that time that went over my head since I haven't seen any of them. Read morePublished on Feb. 16 2004 by John I. Provan
Last June (under a year ago), I read this novel for the first time. I just finished reading it for the fifth time. I have never read a novel with which I related more. Read morePublished on May 11 2003 by Oddsfish
Maybe that's what Percy wanted it to be, like Binx himself, but as such, it's pretty dang dull. And that's hard to do when you set the story in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Read morePublished on April 8 2003 by dudesimon
This novel is number 60 on the Modern Library's list of the 100 best novels of the 20th century, and it is the only Walker Percy novel on that list. Read morePublished on March 13 2003 by K J Foehr