[percy-l] The Moviegoer one of Top 100 books of all time

Charles Lowry lowry.charles at gmail.com
Tue Jul 28 14:34:00 EDT 2009

The original *Time* review was interesting, if only as historical artifact,
but I did not think it was all that insightful.  I have always been struck,
though, by the "review" of some anonymous copywriter at Knopf, whose
observations appeared on the dust jacket of the first edition of *The
Moviegoer*.  "The action spans one week--Carnival Week in New Orleans--in
Binx's life and loves, a critical week during which his dreamlike existence
in the suburbs is disrupted by an internal revolt that he himself hardly
understands.  At the same time, Kate, desperate with neurotic anxiety, moves
swiftly and inexorably to the end of her tether.  Binx's rediscovery of the
strength of his tradition coincides with his new-found capacity to encounter
and love Kate as a person in her own right."  Some of the diction, fifty
years on, sounds dated, but I think this summary rings the bell.

Speaking of which, are there any plans to commemorate in some way the
fiftieth anniversary of the publication?  I mean, if only to gather on
Prytania Street or Elysian Fields and have a drink...

I have known, after the first reading and after uncounted rereadings, which
novel I liked best (*The Moviegoer*) and which least (*Thanatos Syndrome*),
which others always ranked in the top three (*Love in the Ruins*, *The Last
Gentleman*) and which always ranked in the bottom three (*Lancelot*).  But
guys my age always remember, all other considerations aside, which one has
the nondescript fellow in his fifties who ends up with an attractive (and
rich!) twenty-six-year-old girlfriend.  In the end, though, I'm with Richard
Ford: *The Moviegoer* was the novel that changed my life.

Chuck Lowry
Brooklyn, New York
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