Friday, April 4, 2014

Mini Book Review: The Moviegoer by Walker Percy

The MoviegoerThe Moviegoer by Walker Percy

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I don't quite know what to make of this book...
I've never read Percy before so this was an entirely new experience for me.  I knew beforehand that he was a Christian writing of sorts, having studied him in a Christian literature class but not having enough time to read his book The Second Coming. 
I found the author's use of language to be very sophisticated to the point of over saturation.  There was rarely a time that I knew what was going on and when I did finally get a grip of the story, it went right back to confusing narration.  I could tell while reading that Percy was trying to make unknown realities known to the reader but the use of obscure references didn't make these unknown things any more known and in fact made the read even more confusing. 
I'm not saying the writing was particularly bad but it wasn't very readable either.  It was very inconsistent.
As for the characters, I grew attached to none.  Of course, that is not what should be the mark of a good book.  Fair enough.  But apart from not growing close to the characters, I didn't come close to understanding them either.  I mean, you would think our main character would at least be understood but I found it hard to follow his train of thought.  Possibly his train of thought was beautiful but it's hard to tell past the obscure writing style.  Plus, he is said to be a moviegoer but I would have liked to see more scenes of him actually at the movies.  We only see him go, what...three times at most?  Maybe four?  It seemed like he was looking to have a picturesque movie/Hollywood story life which was beautiful but again, I can't tell if I am right on that account or not.
Kate was the strangest character yet.  Sort of like a Daisy Buchanan to me except mentally unstable. 
And then there are all of the other hundred characters that I could hardly keep up with.  The only I can recall is Binx's aunt, Sharon, and Lonnie.  That was another thing, suddenly about halfway through the book Lonnie is randomly introduced and I really wonder what the purpose of him was?  What was the purpose of that side of the family anyway?  Sure, to develop Binx's character a bit more but still, I wasn't convinced of anything.
I am aware this was Percy's first book so I guess he can be cut some slack but when I read on the front cover that this book was awarded the National Book award and is considered to be one of the greatest books of the 20th century, I have to scratch my head in confusion or apparent ignorance.
Overall, the story fell short for me, the characters were too many and too confusing to grasp and the execution was overdone.  I want to like this book but can't bring myself to it's level of apparent sophistication.

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