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Moviegoer Paperback – Jun 1974

4.0 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Paperback, Jun 1974
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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux (June 1974)
  • ISBN-10: 0374505969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374505967
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.5 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,381,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


" 'So sharp, witty and profound ... Percy should have an acknowledged place between John Updike and Richard Ford as a great chronicler of twentieth century small town American malaise.' The Guardian * 'Some novels simply do not go away. They lodge in your consciousness, expanding rather than disappearing after the last page is turned ... Their mysteries deepen with each reading. Your curiosity about them is never quenched. 'The Moviegoer' has proved to be just such a book for me, as it has for countless others.' New Statesman * 'A modern classic ... Wry and lyrical, it will be a discovery for those who have not yet read it and a double pleasure for those who will read it again.' The Times * 'Funny and sad ... a gifted Southern master with a flair bordering on genius.' Irish Times * 'His story is often so shrewdly witty, even outright funny, that one forgets it is a novel about despair.' New York Herald Tribune" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The Moviegoer strikes the perfect balance between ideas and people. He succeeds in writing a book about loneliness and isolation without ever seeming sappy or sentimental; he creates a whole cast of fully developed characters who are deeply flawed but always sympathetic. And one is always struck by the strangeness of the characters. They are absolute originals. I haven't met anyone like Kate in the pages of a novel before or since, but one still somehow relates to every one of them, and can feel connections with their longing for . . . in any case, all of that is irrelevant. It is a great book, I encourage everyone to read it. Also try Jackson McCrae's "Children's Corner" or his "Bark of the Dogwood" for equally great southern reads-intricate and haunting all of these.
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Format: Paperback
Percy's book is astonishingly brilliant! This book is the purest and best example of American Existentialism I have ever read. Not only is the conceptual basis of the book and the mental processes of the protagonist incredibly articulated, but the author's ability to use metaphor is one of the most poignant and accomplished abilities that Percy displays in this book.
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.
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Format: Paperback
If a novelist, any novelist, could put down on paper an exact representation of human thought, he or she would automatically be elevated to the very pinnacle of the literary world. But because language has limitations, this very desirable circumstance is, unfortunately, not possible. Walker Percy has nonetheless tried valiantly to do this very thing. In The Moviegoer, the reader is made privy to the articulated thoughts of Binx Bolling, a young New Orleans stockbroker. Binx explicitly tells us he is on a search. A search for something outside the everyday things that make up his life. Something that will ultimately give his life meaning and thereby fill the emptiness in his heart.
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.
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Format: Paperback
The Moviegoer, ranked the #60 book of the 20th Century by the Modern Library, is definitely worth reading -- yet not as profound or intense as I had hoped it would be. It is, without a doubt, not on the same incomparable level of supremacy as A Confederacy of Dunces. It is, however, entertaining and provocative. You follow a New Orleans stockbroker, Binx Bolling, as he lives his life vicariously through movies and their stars.
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
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