Melissa's Reviews > The Moviegoer

The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
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Jul 02, 07


Recently, I recommended this book to a friend. It had been years since I first read it and, with my terrible memory, any hopes of discussing it with him were lost. So I read it - and a couple other of Percy's books - again and quickly remembered why I keep it - and them - on my shelves.
Percy has a way of bringing out the very puzzles of existence, and discomforts of living in the world, in the most fragile ways. As people live "normal" lives around the main characters, those characters struggle to keep up, all the while with a foot in a world of their own at the same time. There is usually something "wrong" with one or more of these characters, something that excuses them from being wholly a part of the world around them. If it isn't an outright unnamed physical or mental illness, it's the freedom allowed a young man who hasn't quite "found his place in the world" yet. Either way, this "defect" grants these characters the special vantage point of experiencing both sides of each world from an interesting perspective.
It's as if the other characters are living life little-to-no-questions-asked and then there is the strange bird, the one we get to follow, who has nothing but questions, moving through their world as any "anybody, anywhere", but also being part of something in which he's supposed to find a place. All the while he is just trying to figure out why the hell he feels so strange all the time and when and if he'll finally fit in. And what the hell it will feel like to fit in. Does he even want to? Does the end of the malaise mean...happiness? Contentedness? Death?
Now I'm starting to mix characters, but then again, so does Percy. So there.
Not to mention it all takes place in the South, a place within a place, with its own secret rules and traditions. It's like there's mystery everywhere. The mystery of place, of man, of man on earth, of man with God.
It just rocks.
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