Last weekend, I also finished reading Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer, just in time for my book club’s discussion of this piece of classic Southern literature (my book club started it’s discussion a bit later than planned).
I’m happy to report that I liked this novel! It was a bit slow to start, but Binx Bolling’s search for meaning is timeless.
Given that this was written by a Southern writer, I was surprised to find a few references to Buddhism. Here’s one: “My aunt likes to say she is an Episcopalian by emotion, a Greek by nature, and a Buddhist by choice.”
Here are a few other quotes I liked from The Moviegoer:
Only in time of illness or disaster or death are people real.
I do believe the South has produced more high-minded women, women of universal sentiments than any other section of the country except possibly New England in the last century. Of my six living aunts, five are women of the loftiest theosophical panBrahman sentiments.
By heaven she is just like the girls in the movies who won’t put out until you prove to them what a nice unselfish fellow you are, a lover of children and dogs.
And considering the title I was surprised to find references not just to movies but also to many books:
- A Shropshire Lad by A. E. Housman
- Arabia Deserta by Charles Doughty
- Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
- Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
- Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
- The Greene Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine
- The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
- What is Life? The Physical Aspects of the Living Cell by Erwin Schroedinger
- The Universe as I See It by Albert Einstein
Of course a fair number of movies were also mentioned:
- Panic in the Streets
- It Happened One Night
- Red River
- The Oxbow Incident
- All Quiet on the Western Front
- Dark Waters
- The Charterhouse of Parma
I’ve haven’t seen any of the movies mentioned and read only a few of the books mentioned. I think I would like to read Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet and I’ve been meaning to read Grace Metalious’s Peyton Place. And of course I have to make it a priority to read Tolstoy’s War and Peace.