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Percy’s National Book Award­–winning classic: A young man, torn between the forces of tradition and change, searches for meaning in post-war America On the cusp of his thirtieth birthday, Binx Bolling is a lost soul. A stockbroker and member of an established New Orleans family, Binx’s one escape is the movie theater that transports him from the falseness of his life. With Mardi Gras in full swing, Binx, along with his cousin Kate, sets out to find his true purpose amid the excesses of the carnival that surrounds him.   Buoyant yet powerful, The Moviegoer is a poignant indictment of modern values, and an unforgettable story of a week that will change two lives forever.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Walker Percy including rare photos from the author’s estate.

Topics: Family, American South, New Orleans, Bildungsroman, Philosophical, Psychological, Existentialism, Film, Ennui, Existentialism, and First Person Narration

Published: Open Road Media an imprint of Open Road Integrated Media on
ISBN: 9781453216255
List price: $14.99
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I've loved it so much for so long. No objectivity. Read it and weep. more
I wasn't hating it, but I have to admit I'm not going to finish it.

(June 29)
Okay, I picked it up again on the strength of the bit about "This I Believe". We'll see how it goes.

(June 30)
I actually finished it! I liked it more than I thought I would, especially the part about "rotations". I was totally going to even go to book club and discuss it, but there was a whole situation (two, actually) and that just did not happen. Maybe next time.more
The Moviegoer is a coming-of-age story of a twenty-nine year old, 'Binx' Bolling, who works in a suburb of New Orleans at a brokerage firm. Binx doesn't know himself very well. Although he claims to enjoy the mediocrity of his life at the branch office in Gentilly, he at the same time fears the everyday-ness of life. His aunt believes him to have an analytical mind, whereas he believes he has never analyzed anything, meanwhile he continually analyzes himself and everyone else in this first-person narrative. The most charming and at the same time disturbing aspect of this work is Binx's relationships to other women, because he proves to be a moody lover, and is unaware of what he wants. He admires his secretary's (Sharon) beauty, but while they embrace on the beach, he experiences the realization that he does not "love her so wildly as I loved her last night."This might be a good book for teenagers, because of Binx's struggles with identity and the everyday aspects of life that he associates with malaise, despair, and deadness, but much of the book seems rather pointless.more
The book opens with a quote from Kierkegaard: “. . .the specific character of despair is precisely this: it is unaware of being despair.” The preface warns us that when movie stars appear within the pages of the book, “it is not the person of the actor which is meant but the character he projects upon the screen.”I’ve read two great New Orleans novels in my life: John Kennedy Tooles' "A Confederacy of Dunces" and Robert Hicks’ "A Separate Country" – two fabulous but couldn’t-be-more-different novels. Unfortunately, this one misses being the third.In Walker's novel, Binx, a 29-year-old Korean War veteran, New Orleans native, and stock broker is alienated, feels disconnected, yearns in an amorphous way to live a life less ordinary. To this end he devises games that he feels lifts him out of significance. Searches, repetitions, and loops are his mind games for forcing himself to notice things, to create an imaginary matrix in which he can rise above the unnoticed drones, where he, in his mind, can count.Kate is his female counterpart, who flirts with suicide to stimulate her interest in living. Two more self-absorbed characters would be hard to find. Yet, Percy writes about them in such as way that we become interested. Perhaps it is the final scene in the epilogue when Binx’s half brother dies that provides the excuse to find them sympathetic. It’s the only time we learn that either of them is capable of caring for someone other than themselves and to a lesser extent, each other.That said, Walker is a damn good writer of existential fiction. The novel is somewhat dated and out of fashion but glad I read it for the marvelous voice of the author.more
This is one of those in which not much happens. The main character is a man works and goes to the movies and wanders around trying to fight off malaise and everydayness. He is "Seeking" he says, but it's never really clear what he's looking for (perhaps the opposite of everydayness?) or how he plans to find it. His main fear is turning into "a Nobody from Nowhere".Reading the first few pages, I enjoyed the writing style, but as the story went on, I quickly found myself less and less interested. I even grew to dislike the main character as he continued to view the world from a distance. There's a subtle racism throughout, which can be explained, if not excused by the face that it's story centered around a Southern white man in the '50s, and incorporated with that is a general sense of people not as people, but the ideas of people, as symbols and metaphors for existence. The narrator proposes selfishness as the best course of action and follows through. One might think he is redeemed by his relationship with Kate, a depressed cousin by marriage prone to flights of fancy and despair, to whom he speaks to at the behest of his Aunt. He never really tries to help her, just follows her along on the rolling waves of her thought process. And though, their relationship "grows", I am not convinced that he cares for her, because his affections always seem to be based on his ideas.It's one of those stories that I feel I probably should like, because it's well written and serious and supposed to be "meaningful" and stuff, but the truth is all I can muster is a meh in response. I could try to think about more, to see if I'm missing something, to try to determine what I feel about it in any real sense, but the problem is, I just don't care.more
John Bickerson (Binx) Bolling is a stockbroker with a talent for making money. He finds meaning in the movies he goes to with his current secretary. He's also on a nebulous search for something he can't define. He lives in solitary and wonder in a New Orleans suburb in the post-WWII years and is an excellent observer of the minutiae of "everydayness."Binx is one quirky 29-year-old who is drifting through life. The movies he is addicted to provide "certification" for him as a proof of existence when he views a scene from his small life on the big screen. Strangely, he also believes he is "Jewish by instinct" because of being in exile from the concerns of ordinary people. The "cold and fishy eye" of malaise follows him about as he tries to make sense of his life.I thoroughly enjoyed my time in New Orleans with Mardi Gras as a backdrop to this depiction of an unremarkable yet unforgettable character. There is much depth in the penetrating prose of Walker Percy. This book is a keeper that I will be reading again in order to glean its lessons about learning to overcome despair and how to live our lives as best we can.more
When The Moviegoer was first published in 1961, it won the National Book Award and established Walker Percy as one of the leading novelists of the South. In his portrait of a boyish New Orleans stockbroker wavering between ennui and the longing for redemption, Percy managed to create an American existentialist saga. On the eve of his thirtieth birthday, Binx Bolling is adrift. He occupies himself dallying with his secretaries and going to movies, which provide him with the "treasurable moments" absent from this real life. Every night at dusk, when the Gulf breeze stirs the warm, heavy air over New Orleans, a 29-year-old wanderer named Binx Bolling emerges from his apartment, carrying in his hand the movie page of his newspaper, his telephone book and a map of the city. With these documents, Binx proceeds to chart his course to that particular neighborhood cinema in which he will spend his evening. But one fateful Mardi gras, Binx embarks on a quest — a search for authenticity that outrages his family, endangers his fragile cousin, Kate, and sends him reeling through the gaudy chaos of the French Quarter. Eventually through this "search" Binx rediscovers himself by having to face the far more desperate problems of Kate who as she sinks deeper within herself, finds only Binx can talk to her. And in the end, Binx decides to change by making decisions, taking risks, and opening himself to suffering--in other words, by accepting reality. Wry and wrenching, rich in irony and romance, The Moviegoer is a genuine American classic.more
Unlike some of Percy's other novels, this is a fairly straightforward novel that presents itself as an indepth character study, complex in conception if not in design. The writing here is both elegant and striking, and I'd recommend it as a classic character study exploring the twentieth century American's position in a world understood as extraordinary, and experienced as mundane. It's a quiet book, and one worth exploring---surprisingly addictive once begun.more
I LOVED it! This book really seems kin to me or something, on some level. But there is so much there, it feels like an idea driven book, but not in an impersonal abstract way, which is what is remarkable about it. I felt very connected. I don't know if I understand a lot of it, but I feel it anyway. There were many passages that I just wanted to copy and save somewhere that was easily accessible so I could read it over and over again, for the language and the ideas, both. And parts of it were so FUNNY! One thing I didn't get, I probably just missed it somewhere, but who is Rory? He seems to be addressing this Rory character throughout the book. I have many more questions, and wanted to re-read it immediately afterwards. But I think it's probably a good idea to wait and let it settle first.more
My thoughts ran back to a recent viewing of the movie adaptation of E.M. Forster’s [A Room with a View] while reading [The Moviegoer]. As Lucy Honeychurch and her aunt settled into their room, having swapped with George Emerson and his father, they find a painting hanging backwards on the wall with a large question mark scrawled on the backing. George’s father later explains that George is always asking the ‘eternal why.’ Walker Percy placed us as readers firmly in the mind of such a searcher in [The Moviegoer].John “Binx” Bollinger’s head swims with despair and angst and those thoughts cascade through the pages of the novel as he narrates his days. From his dalliances with his secretaries to his proposal to a drug-addled, suicidal girlfriend, Binx stumbles through life, more focused on an internal panorama, fueled by movies, than real human connection.The line in Percy’s story between dark, cynical humor and sadness is blurry. Whether to chuckle or recoil at Binx’ life poses a difficultly for the reader. But whichever course you take, the novel is a lively read. The only true downside is the 1950’s movie and personality references which may be lost on all but the diehard movie fan.4 bones!!!!more
Exquisite writing sets this book apart from others of its type. Jack is pondering life - how he got to where he is and what the next step is - during Mardi Gras week in New Orleans. Family, close and extended, plays an important role as does his enjoyment of films. Some say that this is just the story of a self-indulgent rich boy. I think there is a great deal of Jack in most of us.more
This is a book about a man with equal interests in money and women. He seems to float carelessly about New Orleans, but he does it in a way that presents no conflicts or concerns. He doesn't have any strong desires. Instead the women in his life lead him through conflicts and adventures, and he just watches himself get dragged along. I didn't like the main character and the book reflects the same sense of vapid thoughtlessness we see in this main character. If he were more compelling, I would have enjoyed the book more.more
I felt like I was doing this book a disservice by reading it. I was bored half the time and I really couldn't tell you why. I guess I didn't fall in love with the main character as quickly or as easily as I wanted to. What is there to say? Binx "Jack" Bolling is a 29 year old stock broker who dates his secretaries. He's good at what he does so he earns everyone (including himself) a lot of money. He appears to be a shallow man who spends most of his free time going to the movies. The majority of the story takes place in New Orleans which was fun. I have always been fascinating by that area of the south.For the most part The Moviegoer was a social commentary on a man who prefers to watch life from the sidelines. He doesn't spend a great deal of effort actually getting out there and making things happen. He has no clue who he is. Probably the most telling moment of the story is when Binx is being questioned: "'What do you love? What do you live by?' [he is asked.] I am silent'" is his reply (p 226). He can't even answer the question of what he holds sacred, of what makes him live.more
A tough one to rate. After reading fast paced Bond and Dave Robicheaux novels a subtle slice of life from the past in a southern novel was initially slow. But reading is not all constant suspense and titillation. This book from the past and its references to the past and the near combustible southern future was a well written thoughtful look at modern life and how one should live it. In a time that today we may think of as almost pre-modern people were struggling with change and how to live in it. Just like today. Truly thought provoking with racial references and attitudes which would possibly not be allowed in today's works.more
Rather a light read, and oddly enough, to get a clue as to what the book is about, one should pay attention rather to the books mentioned in the novel, than the movies. I bought this book a few years ago, because nothing else was available. I was not sure whether I would like it, and over the years, between buying and reading it, a feeling had grown on me that I might not like it. However, having read the book now, I feel, though not exalted, it is a somewhat interesting book, for the time it was written.more
This is a spectacular novel, replete with all the mordant humor and superb characterization that one expects from an eminent Southern author. The Moviegoer is fundamentally a meditation on identity, authenticity, and reality itself. The protagonist, Mr. Binx Bolling, is possessed by a need to discover some meaning underpinning his plodding and unsatisfying life. For Binx, movies proffer a sort of mythical framework through which the rest of his reality is tinged and vivified. The work is a joy to read, and switches readily between the riotously funny and the utterly haunting. This is the work that established Percy as a great Southern author in the line of Faulkner, O'Connor, Agee, Welty, and Tate. I absolutely could not recommend it more highly.more
I read The Moviegoer at least once every year. This is my favorite novel.more
A dreamy, rich New Orleans moviegoer searches for commitment in life--evocatively written but ultimately not very interesting. Perhaps I missed something. Worth a reread?more
I didn't like the macho posturing of the protagonist, and found his sexist perspective difficult to swallow. I did enjoy the descriptions of New Orleans neighborhoods; once one has lived there, one can't get enough of the local color. It does capture a certain post-war ennui, but in all, I really didn't enjoy it.more
Dated monologue about not much. I read about half the book and gave up when realised I was just reading the words without being emotionally engaged. I suspect its one of these books if I heard it read by an actor then it may well work. But wry, wrenching, rich in irony and romance it is not!more
A character strangely resembling a friendlier version of Camus's Meursault wanders around New Orleans and not much happens. Moments of clarity here and there. A pleasant, odd book.more
It's one of my favorite books. It's true, there is not much of a plot in it, but this is part of the "message" as I understand it. Being on the search means that there's not necessarily a red line leading through a story with a clear cut plot line. And perhaps this is just one reason that makes this novel quite exceptional.What makes this book so awesome to me is the protagonist’s (Binx Bolling) existential state of loneliness, in fact it is not only his state but humankind’s as a whole taking the existentialist’s point of view: being conscious of oneself and not knowing why one exists, loaded with an indefinite responsibility. The typical answers that might give meaning to human life, love, wealth (not art!) are unmasked as illusions easily. Yes, it reminds of Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby in some ways. It is this strangely purposeless (is it?) life filled up with horror on different layers of meaning, a silent horror in some ways, which all seems to be accepted in a somewhat stoical way. What adds up to the authenticity of this "human search" is not described with importunity but inwardly, quiet, and even gentle. At the same time I read it as a criticism against a nonsensitive, loud and superficial "Southern environment in the beginning 60ies" (easily to be transported into any other time and place, a “chiffre” for humankind as it is and was) a normality which lacks any understanding for life's main questions. That this is a major reason for the protagonist's cousin's (Kate) depression is nothing but one more logical consequence in this subtle novel in which there is much understanding for man’s basic state of existence and its resulting bewilderment.more
I thoroughly enjoyed this foray into "Kierkegaard's narrative." No, the novel doesn't say much, but it's not supposed to, I guess. And Percy has a wonderfully charming manner of saying nothing.more
Walker Percy's writing is excellent, which is why I gave this 4 stars. But his ideas, although thought provoking, really lead nowhere. Most of the book is spent on Binx's fixation on his "search". At the end, I did not feel there was any real conclusion to the search, which to me made most of the book pointless.more
I read this but didn't enjoy it much. About Binx Bolling and his search for meaning. I think that I'm not really cut out for existentialism, because navel-gazing and searching for meaning and complaining about malaise aren't really features I enjoy in a book.more
Read all 28 reviews

Reviews

I've loved it so much for so long. No objectivity. Read it and weep. more
I wasn't hating it, but I have to admit I'm not going to finish it.

(June 29)
Okay, I picked it up again on the strength of the bit about "This I Believe". We'll see how it goes.

(June 30)
I actually finished it! I liked it more than I thought I would, especially the part about "rotations". I was totally going to even go to book club and discuss it, but there was a whole situation (two, actually) and that just did not happen. Maybe next time.more
The Moviegoer is a coming-of-age story of a twenty-nine year old, 'Binx' Bolling, who works in a suburb of New Orleans at a brokerage firm. Binx doesn't know himself very well. Although he claims to enjoy the mediocrity of his life at the branch office in Gentilly, he at the same time fears the everyday-ness of life. His aunt believes him to have an analytical mind, whereas he believes he has never analyzed anything, meanwhile he continually analyzes himself and everyone else in this first-person narrative. The most charming and at the same time disturbing aspect of this work is Binx's relationships to other women, because he proves to be a moody lover, and is unaware of what he wants. He admires his secretary's (Sharon) beauty, but while they embrace on the beach, he experiences the realization that he does not "love her so wildly as I loved her last night."This might be a good book for teenagers, because of Binx's struggles with identity and the everyday aspects of life that he associates with malaise, despair, and deadness, but much of the book seems rather pointless.more
The book opens with a quote from Kierkegaard: “. . .the specific character of despair is precisely this: it is unaware of being despair.” The preface warns us that when movie stars appear within the pages of the book, “it is not the person of the actor which is meant but the character he projects upon the screen.”I’ve read two great New Orleans novels in my life: John Kennedy Tooles' "A Confederacy of Dunces" and Robert Hicks’ "A Separate Country" – two fabulous but couldn’t-be-more-different novels. Unfortunately, this one misses being the third.In Walker's novel, Binx, a 29-year-old Korean War veteran, New Orleans native, and stock broker is alienated, feels disconnected, yearns in an amorphous way to live a life less ordinary. To this end he devises games that he feels lifts him out of significance. Searches, repetitions, and loops are his mind games for forcing himself to notice things, to create an imaginary matrix in which he can rise above the unnoticed drones, where he, in his mind, can count.Kate is his female counterpart, who flirts with suicide to stimulate her interest in living. Two more self-absorbed characters would be hard to find. Yet, Percy writes about them in such as way that we become interested. Perhaps it is the final scene in the epilogue when Binx’s half brother dies that provides the excuse to find them sympathetic. It’s the only time we learn that either of them is capable of caring for someone other than themselves and to a lesser extent, each other.That said, Walker is a damn good writer of existential fiction. The novel is somewhat dated and out of fashion but glad I read it for the marvelous voice of the author.more
This is one of those in which not much happens. The main character is a man works and goes to the movies and wanders around trying to fight off malaise and everydayness. He is "Seeking" he says, but it's never really clear what he's looking for (perhaps the opposite of everydayness?) or how he plans to find it. His main fear is turning into "a Nobody from Nowhere".Reading the first few pages, I enjoyed the writing style, but as the story went on, I quickly found myself less and less interested. I even grew to dislike the main character as he continued to view the world from a distance. There's a subtle racism throughout, which can be explained, if not excused by the face that it's story centered around a Southern white man in the '50s, and incorporated with that is a general sense of people not as people, but the ideas of people, as symbols and metaphors for existence. The narrator proposes selfishness as the best course of action and follows through. One might think he is redeemed by his relationship with Kate, a depressed cousin by marriage prone to flights of fancy and despair, to whom he speaks to at the behest of his Aunt. He never really tries to help her, just follows her along on the rolling waves of her thought process. And though, their relationship "grows", I am not convinced that he cares for her, because his affections always seem to be based on his ideas.It's one of those stories that I feel I probably should like, because it's well written and serious and supposed to be "meaningful" and stuff, but the truth is all I can muster is a meh in response. I could try to think about more, to see if I'm missing something, to try to determine what I feel about it in any real sense, but the problem is, I just don't care.more
John Bickerson (Binx) Bolling is a stockbroker with a talent for making money. He finds meaning in the movies he goes to with his current secretary. He's also on a nebulous search for something he can't define. He lives in solitary and wonder in a New Orleans suburb in the post-WWII years and is an excellent observer of the minutiae of "everydayness."Binx is one quirky 29-year-old who is drifting through life. The movies he is addicted to provide "certification" for him as a proof of existence when he views a scene from his small life on the big screen. Strangely, he also believes he is "Jewish by instinct" because of being in exile from the concerns of ordinary people. The "cold and fishy eye" of malaise follows him about as he tries to make sense of his life.I thoroughly enjoyed my time in New Orleans with Mardi Gras as a backdrop to this depiction of an unremarkable yet unforgettable character. There is much depth in the penetrating prose of Walker Percy. This book is a keeper that I will be reading again in order to glean its lessons about learning to overcome despair and how to live our lives as best we can.more
When The Moviegoer was first published in 1961, it won the National Book Award and established Walker Percy as one of the leading novelists of the South. In his portrait of a boyish New Orleans stockbroker wavering between ennui and the longing for redemption, Percy managed to create an American existentialist saga. On the eve of his thirtieth birthday, Binx Bolling is adrift. He occupies himself dallying with his secretaries and going to movies, which provide him with the "treasurable moments" absent from this real life. Every night at dusk, when the Gulf breeze stirs the warm, heavy air over New Orleans, a 29-year-old wanderer named Binx Bolling emerges from his apartment, carrying in his hand the movie page of his newspaper, his telephone book and a map of the city. With these documents, Binx proceeds to chart his course to that particular neighborhood cinema in which he will spend his evening. But one fateful Mardi gras, Binx embarks on a quest — a search for authenticity that outrages his family, endangers his fragile cousin, Kate, and sends him reeling through the gaudy chaos of the French Quarter. Eventually through this "search" Binx rediscovers himself by having to face the far more desperate problems of Kate who as she sinks deeper within herself, finds only Binx can talk to her. And in the end, Binx decides to change by making decisions, taking risks, and opening himself to suffering--in other words, by accepting reality. Wry and wrenching, rich in irony and romance, The Moviegoer is a genuine American classic.more
Unlike some of Percy's other novels, this is a fairly straightforward novel that presents itself as an indepth character study, complex in conception if not in design. The writing here is both elegant and striking, and I'd recommend it as a classic character study exploring the twentieth century American's position in a world understood as extraordinary, and experienced as mundane. It's a quiet book, and one worth exploring---surprisingly addictive once begun.more
I LOVED it! This book really seems kin to me or something, on some level. But there is so much there, it feels like an idea driven book, but not in an impersonal abstract way, which is what is remarkable about it. I felt very connected. I don't know if I understand a lot of it, but I feel it anyway. There were many passages that I just wanted to copy and save somewhere that was easily accessible so I could read it over and over again, for the language and the ideas, both. And parts of it were so FUNNY! One thing I didn't get, I probably just missed it somewhere, but who is Rory? He seems to be addressing this Rory character throughout the book. I have many more questions, and wanted to re-read it immediately afterwards. But I think it's probably a good idea to wait and let it settle first.more
My thoughts ran back to a recent viewing of the movie adaptation of E.M. Forster’s [A Room with a View] while reading [The Moviegoer]. As Lucy Honeychurch and her aunt settled into their room, having swapped with George Emerson and his father, they find a painting hanging backwards on the wall with a large question mark scrawled on the backing. George’s father later explains that George is always asking the ‘eternal why.’ Walker Percy placed us as readers firmly in the mind of such a searcher in [The Moviegoer].John “Binx” Bollinger’s head swims with despair and angst and those thoughts cascade through the pages of the novel as he narrates his days. From his dalliances with his secretaries to his proposal to a drug-addled, suicidal girlfriend, Binx stumbles through life, more focused on an internal panorama, fueled by movies, than real human connection.The line in Percy’s story between dark, cynical humor and sadness is blurry. Whether to chuckle or recoil at Binx’ life poses a difficultly for the reader. But whichever course you take, the novel is a lively read. The only true downside is the 1950’s movie and personality references which may be lost on all but the diehard movie fan.4 bones!!!!more
Exquisite writing sets this book apart from others of its type. Jack is pondering life - how he got to where he is and what the next step is - during Mardi Gras week in New Orleans. Family, close and extended, plays an important role as does his enjoyment of films. Some say that this is just the story of a self-indulgent rich boy. I think there is a great deal of Jack in most of us.more
This is a book about a man with equal interests in money and women. He seems to float carelessly about New Orleans, but he does it in a way that presents no conflicts or concerns. He doesn't have any strong desires. Instead the women in his life lead him through conflicts and adventures, and he just watches himself get dragged along. I didn't like the main character and the book reflects the same sense of vapid thoughtlessness we see in this main character. If he were more compelling, I would have enjoyed the book more.more
I felt like I was doing this book a disservice by reading it. I was bored half the time and I really couldn't tell you why. I guess I didn't fall in love with the main character as quickly or as easily as I wanted to. What is there to say? Binx "Jack" Bolling is a 29 year old stock broker who dates his secretaries. He's good at what he does so he earns everyone (including himself) a lot of money. He appears to be a shallow man who spends most of his free time going to the movies. The majority of the story takes place in New Orleans which was fun. I have always been fascinating by that area of the south.For the most part The Moviegoer was a social commentary on a man who prefers to watch life from the sidelines. He doesn't spend a great deal of effort actually getting out there and making things happen. He has no clue who he is. Probably the most telling moment of the story is when Binx is being questioned: "'What do you love? What do you live by?' [he is asked.] I am silent'" is his reply (p 226). He can't even answer the question of what he holds sacred, of what makes him live.more
A tough one to rate. After reading fast paced Bond and Dave Robicheaux novels a subtle slice of life from the past in a southern novel was initially slow. But reading is not all constant suspense and titillation. This book from the past and its references to the past and the near combustible southern future was a well written thoughtful look at modern life and how one should live it. In a time that today we may think of as almost pre-modern people were struggling with change and how to live in it. Just like today. Truly thought provoking with racial references and attitudes which would possibly not be allowed in today's works.more
Rather a light read, and oddly enough, to get a clue as to what the book is about, one should pay attention rather to the books mentioned in the novel, than the movies. I bought this book a few years ago, because nothing else was available. I was not sure whether I would like it, and over the years, between buying and reading it, a feeling had grown on me that I might not like it. However, having read the book now, I feel, though not exalted, it is a somewhat interesting book, for the time it was written.more
This is a spectacular novel, replete with all the mordant humor and superb characterization that one expects from an eminent Southern author. The Moviegoer is fundamentally a meditation on identity, authenticity, and reality itself. The protagonist, Mr. Binx Bolling, is possessed by a need to discover some meaning underpinning his plodding and unsatisfying life. For Binx, movies proffer a sort of mythical framework through which the rest of his reality is tinged and vivified. The work is a joy to read, and switches readily between the riotously funny and the utterly haunting. This is the work that established Percy as a great Southern author in the line of Faulkner, O'Connor, Agee, Welty, and Tate. I absolutely could not recommend it more highly.more
I read The Moviegoer at least once every year. This is my favorite novel.more
A dreamy, rich New Orleans moviegoer searches for commitment in life--evocatively written but ultimately not very interesting. Perhaps I missed something. Worth a reread?more
I didn't like the macho posturing of the protagonist, and found his sexist perspective difficult to swallow. I did enjoy the descriptions of New Orleans neighborhoods; once one has lived there, one can't get enough of the local color. It does capture a certain post-war ennui, but in all, I really didn't enjoy it.more
Dated monologue about not much. I read about half the book and gave up when realised I was just reading the words without being emotionally engaged. I suspect its one of these books if I heard it read by an actor then it may well work. But wry, wrenching, rich in irony and romance it is not!more
A character strangely resembling a friendlier version of Camus's Meursault wanders around New Orleans and not much happens. Moments of clarity here and there. A pleasant, odd book.more
It's one of my favorite books. It's true, there is not much of a plot in it, but this is part of the "message" as I understand it. Being on the search means that there's not necessarily a red line leading through a story with a clear cut plot line. And perhaps this is just one reason that makes this novel quite exceptional.What makes this book so awesome to me is the protagonist’s (Binx Bolling) existential state of loneliness, in fact it is not only his state but humankind’s as a whole taking the existentialist’s point of view: being conscious of oneself and not knowing why one exists, loaded with an indefinite responsibility. The typical answers that might give meaning to human life, love, wealth (not art!) are unmasked as illusions easily. Yes, it reminds of Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby in some ways. It is this strangely purposeless (is it?) life filled up with horror on different layers of meaning, a silent horror in some ways, which all seems to be accepted in a somewhat stoical way. What adds up to the authenticity of this "human search" is not described with importunity but inwardly, quiet, and even gentle. At the same time I read it as a criticism against a nonsensitive, loud and superficial "Southern environment in the beginning 60ies" (easily to be transported into any other time and place, a “chiffre” for humankind as it is and was) a normality which lacks any understanding for life's main questions. That this is a major reason for the protagonist's cousin's (Kate) depression is nothing but one more logical consequence in this subtle novel in which there is much understanding for man’s basic state of existence and its resulting bewilderment.more
I thoroughly enjoyed this foray into "Kierkegaard's narrative." No, the novel doesn't say much, but it's not supposed to, I guess. And Percy has a wonderfully charming manner of saying nothing.more
Walker Percy's writing is excellent, which is why I gave this 4 stars. But his ideas, although thought provoking, really lead nowhere. Most of the book is spent on Binx's fixation on his "search". At the end, I did not feel there was any real conclusion to the search, which to me made most of the book pointless.more
I read this but didn't enjoy it much. About Binx Bolling and his search for meaning. I think that I'm not really cut out for existentialism, because navel-gazing and searching for meaning and complaining about malaise aren't really features I enjoy in a book.more
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