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Winner of the 1961 National Book Award
The dazzling novel that established Walker Percy as one of the major voices in Southern literature is now available for the first time in Vintage paperback.
The Moviegoer is Binx Bolling, a young New Orleans stockbroker who surveys the world with the detached gaze of a Bourbon Street dandy even as he yearns for a spiritual redemption he cannot bring himself to believe in. On the eve of his thirtieth birthday, he occupies himself dallying with his secretaries and going to movies, which provide him with the "treasurable moments" absent from his real life. But one fateful Mardi Gras, Binx embarks on a hare-brained quest that outrages his family, endangers his fragile cousin Kate, and sends him reeling through the chaos of New Orleans' French Quarter. Wry and wrenching, rich in irony and romance, The Moviegoer is a genuine American classic.
evacuate his bowels regularly and have a stimulating hobby (it was the nineteen thirties and everybody believed in science and talked about “ductless glands”). I do not try to sleep. And I could not tell you the last time my bowels moved; sometimes they do not move for a week but I have no interest in such matters. As for hobbies, people with stimulating hobbies suffer from the most noxious of despairs since they are tranquillized in their despair. I muse along as quietly as a ghost. Instead of
manner of country folk who grant favors with an angry willingness. A moment later she is standing at my desk stroking the beige plastic with two scarlet nails. “Is it all right for someone to pick me up at five for a few minutes?” Someone. How ancient is her wisdom. I am nothing to her, yet by the surest of instincts she labels her date a neuter person. She knows I do not believe there is such a person. But she knows what she does. Despite myself I believe a someone will pick her up, a shadowy
dreams as an ancient. At night the years come back and perch around my bed like ghosts. My mother made up a cot in my corner of the porch. It is a good place, with the swamp all around and the piles stirring with every lap of water. But, good as it is, my old place is used up (places get used up by rotatory and repetitive use) and when I awake, I awake in the grip of everydayness. Everydayness is the enemy. No search is possible. Perhaps there was a time when everydayness was not too strong and
Jules is laughing with Aunt Edna about something. Though Aunt Emily is abstracted, temple propped on three fingers, she speaks cheerfully, and I can’t help but wonder if Sam’s story is not exaggerated. Uncle Oscar and Aunt Edna have come down from Feliciana Parish for Carnival and the Spring Pilgrimage, an annual tour of old houses and patios. Aunt Edna is a handsome stoutish woman with snapping black eyes and a near-mustache. Though she is at least sixty five, her hair is still black and loops
pain? Hell couldn’t be fire—there are worse things than fire. I moved to a hotel and for a while I was all right. I had a job doing case work and I had plenty of dates. But after a while the room began to reproach me. When I came home from work every afternoon, the sun would be setting across the river in Arkansas and every day the yellow light became sadder and sadder. And Arkansas over there in the yellow West—O my God, you have no idea how sad it looked. One afternoon I packed my suitcase and