Amin's Reviews > The Last Gentleman

The Last Gentleman by Walker Percy
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's review
Oct 12, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: lit
Read in March, 2009

It's a little difficult to know what to make of Percy's lost protagonists. The Last Gentleman and The Moviegoer bear a lot of resemblance to one another, and I must confess that I'm never sure that I've quite grasped where these protagonists come from or where they are going.

The doubts, fears, and rootlessness that Percy describes within Williston Bibb Barrett are familiar---and beautifully rendered---and there are tremendous encounters between characters attempting to discover an adequate response to the curious positioning of modernity. And it seems like strains of Kierkegaard can still be heard, particularly Either/Or: Sutter the sure aesthete who nevertheless can't seem to tell Barrett the one thing Barrett needs to know; the way that Barrett discovers the answer to his rootlessness through an inordinately conventional life, but life with clear parameters and, perhaps, duties.

But the moments and the various characters never quite seem to cohere; they are individually striking, and will cause much reflection about life and its meaning, but it's not clear what they mean when taken together. But that may not be necessary.

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