HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy
Loading...

Love in the Ruins (original 1971; edition 1988)

by Walker Percy (Author)

Series: Dr. Tom More (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,284814,252 (3.85)30
Fiction. Literature. HTML:A "brilliant and hilarious" novel of the end times in America and one psychiatrist's quest to save mankind, from a New York Times??bestselling author (Dallas Morning News).

The United States seems to be on the brink of catastrophe. From the abandoned cars littering the highways (no one remembers how to fix them) to the endless hours spent on the golf course (now open twenty-four hours for those who can't bother to wait until daylight to putt) to the starkly polarized political and religious factions dividing the country (which are increasingly difficult to tell apart), it is startlingly evident that the great experiment of the American Dream has failed.

The only problem is that no one has noticed. No one, that is, except Dr. Thomas More.

Dr. More, an alcoholic, womanizing, lapsed-Catholic psychiatrist, has invented the lapsometer: a machine capable of diagnosing and curing the spiritual afflictions that are speeding society toward its inevitable collapse. If used correctly, the lapsometer could make anxiety, depression, alienation, and racism things of the past. But, in the wrong hands, it could propel the nation even more quickly into chaos.

Hailed as "vividly entertaining" by the Los Angeles Times and "profoundly moving" by the Milwaukee Journal, Love in the Ruins is a towering, mind-bending work of satirical speculative fiction by the National Book Award??winning author of The Moviegoe
… (more)
Member:gziklore
Title:Love in the Ruins
Authors:Walker Percy (Author)
Info:Ivy Books (1988), Edition: Reprint
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:None

Work Information

Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy (1971)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 30 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
With an opening paragraph that explodes on the page with references to Christendom, Western civilization, and Dante, I immediately knew that this book was going to be good if not great. However I was thrown off a bit by the structure in which the first part was set on July Fourth and then went back to July 1st in the second part, but I got my bearings and began to enjoy the satire and the chaos of the world of the mid-80s in the United States where everything was falling apart around Paradise Estates, "an oasis of concord in a troubled land."

The protagonist is Dr. Thomas More (yes, namesake of the famous St. Thomas More) a heavy-drinking psychiatrist who has had his share of personal tragedy. He comments, "It is my misfortune---and blessing---that I suffer from both liberal and conservative complaints, e.g., both morning terror and large-bowel disorders, excessive abstraction and unseasonable rages, alternating impotence and satyriasis. So that at one and the same time I have great sympathy for my patients and lead a fairly miserable life."(p 20)

Tom hopes to turn his fortunes around with his invention, the lapsometer, with which he "can measure the index of life, life in death and death in life" --- This being a very scientific way to measure a sort of relative spirituality. The plot centers around his attempts to make progress with his invention while maintaining a semblance of normality, a vigorous love life, and interactions with a variety of interesting characters that include a Jewish atheist and a mephistopheles-like character who manages to persuade Tom to sign away his invention (i.e. his soul).

Through it all he maintains his own Catholic faith, while at the same time claiming, somewhat reasonably, to be a "bad" Catholic. At the same time he serves his fellow man in his role as a doctor while dealing with attacks from "Bantu" warriors and the impending collapse of society. The delight of the book comes from the savage satire and the potential for change in the life of Dr. Tom.

Seldom have I read a book that brings to mind my personal history; Love in the Ruins is one of those books. Written in the early 1970s, but set in a not too distant future of the mid 80s it is filled with references that in lesser books would merely seem out of date and discourage the reader. Yet Percy has captured the time and place with specific cultural entities like Howard Johnson's and others. I found this intriguing and fitting in a way that made the deterioration of society in the story more believable. He succeeds (certainly not intentionally) in mirroring the ongoing chaos in our own contemporary world. Ultimately, this is a novel, as the title suggests, about ruin, but also love, and perhaps therein a glimmer of hope---read it and find out. ( )
  jwhenderson | Jul 15, 2021 |
I got through chapter three before I had to bail on this novel. (Audiobook narrated by Grover Gardener, who, I've had the pleasure of listening to, before). It's not the narrator's barely inflective voice that's making me bored as hell, as it's more than this. I don't think Gardener was enjoying himself at all, somehow. Also, some reviewers will find his writing and the plot clever and brilliantly written. I found both very tedious. I also didn't find a single thing about this novel funny.

And what's with the way the lead character keeps calling people "fags" and "negroes"...? I understand this novel got published quite a while ago, but this wasn't very fun for me, regardless of the novel supposedly being farcical. It was very cringe-worthy.

See these reviews for a more comprehensive view of how I feel:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/23459084?book_show_action=true&from_re...

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/351629380?book_show_action=true&from_r...

2 stars, and not recommended. ( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
Since the only Walker Percy novel I'd read previous to this one was "The Moviegoer," this came as sort of a surprise. "Love in the Ruins" is a political and religious satire set in the near future that focuses on Tom More, a doctor, inventor, bad Catholic, rum toddy enthusiast, and all-around sybarite. Tom himself is a likable character, and his efforts at navigating the shoals of the extreme political movements that have overcome the United States as he deals with personal tragedy will likely make him a sympathetic figure to many readers. But the real attraction of the book is its setting, which reflects both the natural beauty of the American South -- it's described as a lush, fertile barely controlled jungle -- and its take on our political future, which is both very much of its time (1971) and eerily prescient. While some of the aspects of the political scene that Percy presents here proved pretty transitory (love children! an armed, militant, separatist Black Power movement!) his description of partisans separated by culture and politics living side by side seems a lot like the modern United States. Either things haven't changed all that much from the early seventies or Percy was an unusually acute political and cultural oracle.

But considering that "The Moviegoer" was a pretty clear descendant of European existentialist novels, what really surprised me about "Love in the Ruins" was its unbridled sensuality: Dr. Tom More loves good-looking women with all his being, and Percy writes them very skillfully. Meanwhile, the forest runs wild: vines burst through the concrete as guerrillas and hippies take over the nearby swamp. This might be a Southern Catholic's response to the more ascetic aspects American Protestantism, though the conflation of consumer culture, nationalism, and religion also comes in for some criticism, too. But the book's also more playful and more lively than "The Moviegoer" was: there are times when you might be forgiven for thinking that you were reading a thriller of some sort.

I'm a bit less attuned to Percy's religious themes than I probably should be: I'm an even worse Catholic than Dr. More. But I think there's also, via a technological metaphor, an attempt here to reconcile humankind's base and lofty desires, as the main character fairly bursts with both. And maybe a plea, of some sort, for forgiveness -- from God, for each other, and for ourselves. Surprisingly enjoyable and recommended. ( )
3 vote TheAmpersand | Sep 26, 2017 |
Love in the Ruins. Walker Percy. 1971. Walker’s futuristic satire of the state of his contemporary world and the people in it is not at all dated. He paints a bleak picture of a society in freefall full of self-important academics, weird hippies, country clubbers, physicians and psychologists, angry red necks and Black people who are all godless and miserable. Thomas More, a physician named after his ancestor who was beheaded for his beliefs, relates the story through a haze of booze and the emotions generated by the three women he plans to bed. He has invented a machine that can locate the soul and cure its sickness. Tom’s adventures eventually lead him to examine his own soul, to return to the Catholic Church and to lean to live a simple life. This is not an easy read, Percy’s insights into human nature are masterful and his descriptions of the South and Southerners, our decadent society, and our loss of faith as a people is spot on ( )
3 vote judithrs | Mar 2, 2017 |
Percy is a master of writing. The novel concerns Dr. Thomas More, a bad Catholic, at a time near the end of the world. Not sure I understood everything, but it was fascinating to read. ( )
  marient7 | Jul 8, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Percy, Walkerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Muschg, HannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Series

Belongs to Publisher Series

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For
Shelby Foote
First words
Now in these dread latter days of the old violent beloved USA and of the Christ-forgetting Christ-haunted death-dealing Western world I came to myself in a grove of young pines and the  question came to me: has it happened at last?
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Fiction. Literature. HTML:A "brilliant and hilarious" novel of the end times in America and one psychiatrist's quest to save mankind, from a New York Times??bestselling author (Dallas Morning News).

The United States seems to be on the brink of catastrophe. From the abandoned cars littering the highways (no one remembers how to fix them) to the endless hours spent on the golf course (now open twenty-four hours for those who can't bother to wait until daylight to putt) to the starkly polarized political and religious factions dividing the country (which are increasingly difficult to tell apart), it is startlingly evident that the great experiment of the American Dream has failed.

The only problem is that no one has noticed. No one, that is, except Dr. Thomas More.

Dr. More, an alcoholic, womanizing, lapsed-Catholic psychiatrist, has invented the lapsometer: a machine capable of diagnosing and curing the spiritual afflictions that are speeding society toward its inevitable collapse. If used correctly, the lapsometer could make anxiety, depression, alienation, and racism things of the past. But, in the wrong hands, it could propel the nation even more quickly into chaos.

Hailed as "vividly entertaining" by the Los Angeles Times and "profoundly moving" by the Milwaukee Journal, Love in the Ruins is a towering, mind-bending work of satirical speculative fiction by the National Book Award??winning author of The Moviegoe

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Legacy Library: Walker Percy

Walker Percy has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

See Walker Percy's legacy profile.

See Walker Percy's author page.

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.85)
0.5
1
1.5 2
2 10
2.5 1
3 33
3.5 4
4 72
4.5 7
5 34

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 197,562,375 books! | Top bar: Always visible