Thursday, January 03, 2019

The wonder of everydayness …

… We Still Live Within the Mediated, Alienated World of “The Moviegoer” | The New Yorker. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Percy was a late starter as a novelist, and Binx Bolling is late coming of age, but Percy’s novel of Binx’s coming of age was ahead of its time. With its slack and offhand protagonist, its present-tense narration, its effortless mix of informal speech, images from popular culture, and frank ruminations on the meaning of life, “The Moviegoer” is, in my estimation, the first work of what we call contemporary American fiction, the earliest novel to render a set of circumstances and an outlook that still feel recognizably ours.

1 comment:

  1. It is a wonderful book, and it is unfortunate that Percy never wrote as good a novel again. He had a splendid ear for how everyone talks--Southerners being portentous, Midwesterners speaking of their income or saying that they are "people-likers." He lacked an ear for Walker Percy, though, and that meant that his readers heard the guesses and hints that enlivened The Moviegoer harden into a manner over the twenty-five or so years.