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The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

The Moviegoer (edition 1998)

by Walker Percy

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,301521,653 (3.68)1 / 90
Title:The Moviegoer
Authors:Walker Percy
Info:Vintage (1998), Edition: 1st Vintage International ed, Paperback, 241 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:classics, literary, library, not a favorite, read in 2012, 12 in 12 Challenge

Work details

The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

  1. 00
    The Feast of All Saints by Anne Rice (kraaivrouw)
  2. 00
    The Floating Opera by John Barth (michaeljohn)
    michaeljohn: Both are slyly humorous novels with philosophical undercurrents.
  3. 01
    Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre (erezv)

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English (51)  German (1)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
So, the Moviegoer won the National Book Award. It must be a great book. Unfortunately, I didn't get it. The protagonist, Binx, is on a search. It appears to be a search for the meaning of life, but his activities - going to movies, bedding women, making money, and hanging out with his relatives - don't seem to be getting him there. Then, nothing much happens. I kept waiting for it, but it never came. I suppose it is a message about the boredom for the post-war middle class. I don't know, exactly, except that it bored me to tears.
The writing is beautiful. I looked up a word every few pages. Quite edifying! I guess I've been out of college lit classes to long. I want a story in which something happens. The Moviegoer is not that story. ( )
  DrApple | May 16, 2016 |
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 often overlooked. The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. Percy describes the everyday with sublime mastery.

( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
I was about ten percent into The Moviegoer when I began to wonder why I was reading it. Something was driving me forward, but at that point I couldn't tell what it was.

What I look for in most novels are strong characters, interesting relationships, and complex plots. I wasn't finding those in this book. The Moviegoer is written from the point of view of Binx Bolling, a stockbroker who lives in New Orleans. His character is drawn in depth. He is a confused man who internalizes everything he sees. He is looking for the meaning of life (his search), but in the process it seems as if he's looking through a haze. The other characters in the novel speak and take actions, but their thoughts are distorted through his perspective. There were often cases where a minor character would be mentioned and I felt as if I should have known this person. When I searched the various names (I was reading on a Kindle) I discovered there these characters had been mentioned rarely, if ever, in the parts I had read. Binx Bolling knew them, so it wasn't important that the reader did.

Once I understood that this book was all about Binx, I could appreciate what I was reading. It made me think, which is the most important thing a novel can do. At the end of the copy I was reading there is a short piece entitled A Biography of Walker Percy by Judy Kahn. Here's a quote from her writing:

His handling of major existential themes such as alienation, loss of faith, and search for meaning, expressed through the characters of Binx Bolling and Kate Cuter, left no doubt that he was a writer of great philosophical depth.

I would have left Kate Cuter out of that sentence, but other than that I think Kahn does a fabulous job of defining what this book is about. I suggest reading the biography before reading the novel. If I had done that I think I would have been a better reader.

Steve Lindahl – author of Motherless Soul and White Horse Regressions ( )
  SteveLindahl | Jan 16, 2016 |
What's the big stink? Holden Caulfield grows up and is still dissatisfied with the world and the people in it. Maybe I'll come back to this when I'm older, but at this point in my life it's just not for me. ( )
  cattylj | Feb 28, 2015 |
Great book although at times too philosophical. (Review TO Come) ( )
  Gregorio_Roth | Dec 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
Ironic but not cynical, complex without being abstruse, hopeful without sentimentality.

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Percy, Walkerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Handke, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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... the specific character of

despair is precisely this: it

is unaware of being despair.

Søren Kierkegaard,

The Sickness Unto Death
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This morning I got a note from my aunt asking me to come for lunch.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375701966, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:46 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Kate's desperate struggle to maintain her sanity forces her cousin Binx to relinquish his dreamworld

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Legacy Library: Walker Percy

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