Tyler Jones's Reviews > The Moviegoer

The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
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Dec 05, 11

Read in January, 1998

The mind stutters against the back of the teeth to give proper words. A beautiful work of art.

The protagonist, Binx Bolling, is a thirty year-old New Orleans stockbroker battling spiritual numbness with hedonism, objectification, and gallows humour. Yet despair grows almost imperceptibly, like the slow unstoppable progress of vegetation coming through concrete, until Bolling is finally forced into an action that will upset the careful and fragile world of his family. As Bolling's crises deepens the quality of the narration reaches breath-taking heights; it is as if Bolling's mind is seeing the world in fresh ways even as he falls into despair. The latter half of The Moviegoer contains many passages of description that the reader will savour like a fine bourbon held in the mouth.

If the character of Bolling is one of most fully realised interior lives in literature, (and he is) then it is not only because of what Bolling says, but what he chooses not to; Walker informs the reader in undramatic fashion of the death of Bolling's father and brother as well as Bolling's war experience. These things, though never really examined by Bolling himself, provide the framework around which Walker creates his full character.

In many ways the adolescent angst expressed by Holden Caulfield is taken to its full grown adult version in Binx Bolling. Readers who, in their teens or twenties, were deeply affected by The Catcher in the Rye, have a powerful novel to read in their thirties and forties.
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