Sunday, August 08, 2004

another perfect novel

I've been reading Walker Percy's The Moviegoer, a novel I read years ago.

Listen to this:
"Until recent years I read only "fundamental" books, that is, key books on key subjects, such as War and Peace, the novel of novels; A Study of History the solution to the problem of time; Schroedinger's What is Life; Einstein's The Universe as I See It, and such. Duuring those years I stood outside the universe and sought t understand it. I lived in my roomas an Anyone living Anywhere and read fundamental books and only for diversion took walks around the neighborhood and saw an occasional movie. Certainly it did not matter to me where I was when I read such a book as The Expanding Universe. The greatest success of this enterprise, which I call my vertical search, came one night when I sat in a hotel in Birmingham and read a book called The Chemistry of Life. When I finished it, it seemed to me that the main goals of my search were reached, or were in principle reachable, whereupon I went out and saw a movie called It Happened One Night which was itself very good. A memorable night. The only difficulty was that though the universe had been disposed of, I myself was left over. There I lay in my hotel room obliged to draw one breath and then the next. But now I have undertaken a different kind of search, a horizontal search. As a consequence, what takes place in my room is less important. What is important is what I shall find when I leave my room and wander in the neighborhood. Before, I wandered as a diversion. Now I wander seriously and sit and read as a diversion."

Percy gives us New Orleans in the way that it is a specific and different habitat. He also gives us life made big through the eyes of Binx Bolling. What are we doing wandering around this planet trying to give it meaning.


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