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The Moviegoer: A Novel

Автор Walker Percy

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The Moviegoer: A Novel

Автор Walker Percy

оценки:
3/5 (872 оценки)
Длина:
260 страниц
4 часа
Издатель:
Издано:
Mar 29, 2011
ISBN:
9781453216255
Формат:
Книга

Описание

In this National Book Award–winning novel from a “brilliantly breathtaking writer,” a young Southerner searches for meaning in the midst of Mardi Gras (The New York Times Book Review).

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.
Издатель:
Издано:
Mar 29, 2011
ISBN:
9781453216255
Формат:
Книга

Об авторе

Walker Percy (1916–1990) was one of the most prominent American writers of the twentieth century. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, he was the oldest of three brothers in an established Southern family that contained both a Civil War hero and a U.S. senator. Acclaimed for his poetic style and moving depictions of the alienation of modern American culture, Percy was the bestselling author of six fiction titles—including the classic novel The Moviegoer (1961), winner of the National Book Award—and fifteen works of nonfiction. In 2005, Time magazinenamed The Moviegoer one of the best English-language books published since 1923.


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3.1
872 оценки / 40 Обзоры
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  • (5/5)
    A challenging book but so worth it. Some of the most beautiful prose I've read.
  • (5/5)
    A good balance of plot, philosophizing, and a passive interior wanderlust ("the search" of the "seeker") . The characters seem plucked from Faulkner's south and believable in context. The existentialism is "lightweight" in that it arises simply from Binx not making any progress from his readymade worldview at the outset.
  • (3/5)
    Initially, one might perceive the novel's protagonist, Binx Bolling, as shallow primarily motivated to make money, to watch movies (which he frequently compares to reality), and to date each newly hired secretary. However, as accompany him on his and his relative, Kate Cutrer, on their existential journey throughout a post-WWII New Orleans, you realize that he has more psychological depth as the two explore alienation, faith, and life's meaning. The author's interest in existential philosophy is evident in this novel's plot. If you are enjoy the contemporary author, Nicholson Baker, especially his short stream-of-consciousness The Mezzanine, you will enjoy his predecessor's The Moviegoer.
  • (4/5)
    This novel was more thought-provoking than I had expected so my rating may change after I have had time to mull it over. I loved the New Orleans setting and Percy has a wonderful way with words. The malaise of Binx and Kate was both familiar and strange -- I have had bouts of clinical depression and so could understand some of what Kate was feeling but the existentialism was a bit hard to relate to.
  • (3/5)
    So, the Moviegoer won the National Book Award. It must be a great book. Unfortunately, I didn't get it. The protagonist, Binx, is on a search. It appears to be a search for the meaning of life, but his activities - going to movies, bedding women, making money, and hanging out with his relatives - don't seem to be getting him there. Then, nothing much happens. I kept waiting for it, but it never came. I suppose it is a message about the boredom for the post-war middle class. I don't know, exactly, except that it bored me to tears.The writing is beautiful. I looked up a word every few pages. Quite edifying! I guess I've been out of college lit classes to long. I want a story in which something happens. The Moviegoer is not that story.
  • (4/5)
    I've wanted to read THE MOVIEGOER for many years, and now I finally have. My take on it may be slightly different than some. I see it as a kind of anti-war book. Its protagonist, Binx Bolling, is several years removed from his service in the Korean war, but he seems to be suffering from a kind of PTSD, which he refers to as the "malaise," or the "everydayness." Whatever he calls it, it has left him with a feeling of hopelessness, of "why bother." A moderately successful stockbroker with his uncle's New Orleans firm, Binx has no particular ambitions beyond his present circumstances. He lives his bachelor life in a bare, unadorned apartment. He engages in meaningless serial dalliances with his secretaries. He has no close friends. The last time he can remember life being important was when he "lay bleeding in a ditch" in Korea. He takes refuge in movies.Walker Percy's novel also gives us a glimpse into New Orleans life in the late fifties. He shows us the inbred families of the crescent city, their attitudes toward the black servants they employ, as well as the strange, stratified carnival atmosphere of Mardi Gras. Indeed, everyone seems to expect Binx to marry his cousin, Kate, who is a story in herself, with her wildly fluctuating bipolar behavior. Binx does feel a surprisingly tender affinity toward his colorful cousin, and also shows immense tolerance and even affection for his several half-siblings, especially one who is crippled and sickly. In these particular relationships, he comes alive as a real and sympathetic character, in sharp contrast to his shallow affairs with his Marcia, Linda and Sharon secretaries. The book starts off rather slowly, I thought, but the second half grabbed me and kept me turning pages - the parts about Kate and her family, as well as his crippled half-brother, Lonnie. I understand now why THE MOVIEGOER, first published in 1962, has long been considered a minor classic of Southern Literature. Percy is a unique sort of writer, and a damn good one. Binx Bolling is a character I will not soon forget. Very highly recommended.- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER
  • (2/5)
    Nice prose, but I could neither empathize nor sympathize with any of the characters.
  • (4/5)
    Percy has been an Interesting discovery and the characters he created are unique

  • (4/5)
    Binx Bolling is a lost soul, but at least he knows he’s lost. As the ostensible hero of Walker Percy’s beautifully rendered novel The Moviegoer, an almost 30-year old Binx wanders around New Orleans as part of his Search, which is “…what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life”. He spends his days going through the motions as a stockbroker in his Uncle Jules’ business while escaping at night into the artificial world of countless movie theaters and the pursuit of a variety of women. Of course, all of this is a great disappointment to his Aunt Emily, the matriarch of the family, who has far greater plans for his life. However, when Emily asks Binx to help counsel his cousin Kate, who is in even a more fragile mental state than he is, all of their lives are placed on a very different path.Set during Mardi Gras week in 1960, The Moviegoer perfectly captures the angst, disillusionment, and uncertainty of an era in which an entire generation was trying to move on from the war while facing what the future held in store. While that future seemed so promising to so many—dazzling even—the reality of day-to-day life was often depressingly mundane. In that respect, this novel shares a common theme with Richard Yates’ equally remarkable Revolutionary Road, which Percy’s work actually beat out for the National Book Award. However, this is also a very Southern tale, infused as it is with the daily rhythms, speech patterns, and local flavor of the time and the place. Above all else, it is a deceptively philosophical novel and a compelling character study that has stood the test of time.I really enjoyed this book, which I had known by reputation for years before I finally got around to reading it. To be sure, it is not really a plot-driven story, which is something that seems to be a concern for a lot of other reviewers. From my perspective, though, I found Binx Bolling to be one the great characters in recent literature and an archetype for so many disaffected modern male protagonists (e.g., Frank Bascombe in Richard Ford’s The Sportswriter and Independence Day) who have followed. Percy’s prose is sharp and insightful, as well as occasionally funny and charming. This novel, which is so full of compelling ideas and observations, is one that I will look forward to reading again in the future.
  • (3/5)
    Binx Bolling ist ein Suchender. Einer, den sein situiertes Leben in New Orleans in den 1950er Jahren nicht ausreicht. Der Roman spielt in der Zeit von Mardi Gras, als junger Wertpapierhändler fühlt er sich eingebettet in die Welt einer traditionellen weißen Südstaatenfamilie nicht wohl. Die Ausgelassenheit des Faschings verstärkt dieses Gefühl, wobei Binx sich nicht der Freude und dem Rummel zugeneigt fühlt, sondern stets und überall auf die Malaise stößt, auf jenes Gefühl der Traurigkeit, das sich bei ihm regelmäßig einstellt, vor allem, nachdem sich etwas Positives ereignet hat.Der Roman erschien 1961 und wurde im Jahr darauf mit dem National Bok Award ausgezeichnet. Vor dem Hintergrund der damaligen Zeit erscheint dies auch gerechtfertigt, immerhin beschäftigt sich Percy mit damals aktuellen Themen wie Fortschritt, Wissenschaft oder auch Rassendiskriminierung (wenngelich letzteres eher zu vernachläsigen ist). Ob das Buch allerdings zu den 100 must-reads der englischsprachigen Literatur des 20. Jahrhunderts zählt, wie das Time-Magazin behauptet, ist zu bezweifeln. Zu sehr ist der Roman in seiner Zeit verhaftet (die Anspielungen auf die Kinofilme z.B. sind heute kaum noch nachvollziehbar), zu wenig perspektivisch sind die Charaktere und die Handlung ausgelegt. Mag sein, dass der Protagonist einigen (so auch dem Übersetzer Peter Handke) ein Wahlverwandter ist - aber ein großer Roman braucht eindeutig mehr als einen eigenwilligen Charkter und einen mittelmäßigen Erzählstil.
  • (5/5)
    I've loved it so much for so long. No objectivity. Read it and weep.
  • (4/5)
    What is the nature of the search? you ask. Really it is very simple; at least for a fellow like me. So simple that it is often overlooked. The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. Percy describes the everyday with sublime mastery.

  • (2/5)
    What's the big stink? Holden Caulfield grows up and is still dissatisfied with the world and the people in it. Maybe I'll come back to this when I'm older, but at this point in my life it's just not for me.
  • (3/5)
    Great book although at times too philosophical. (Review TO Come)
  • (3/5)
    For anyone who has ever felt truly lost in life, stranded in the ambiguity of what to do with their lives and find other ways to pass the time and find some sort of semblance of happiness, this novel is first you.

    I can identify with Binx, the protagonist, because of his eternal struggle for his search for seemingly something more yet being content in his little nook of the world he's carved out. Just like Kerorac's On the Road, The Moviegoer made me nostalgic for a time I was never part of I missed it all the same.
  • (3/5)
    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.
  • (3/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    Wow, what a densely woven, moody, beautiful little book. I could really just go back and start at the beginning and read it again, and I might just do that a little later on.Five stars because of one just amazing passage that takes place at a drive-in movie—one of those things you read that stays with you forever.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (2/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    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!!!!
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (1/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (3/5)
    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.