Reading Matters

‘The Moviegoer’ at 50

Walker Percy
Walker Percy Catholic Education

Is it possible?

Louisiana novelist Walker Percy would be 100 next month. And his National Book Award-winning novel, “The Moviegoer,” is 55 this year.

“Walker Percy’s ‘The Moviegoer’ at Fifty” takes a new look at the “Iconic American Novel” where Binx Bolling, a womanizer and stockbroker who’s feeling alienated from his world of privelege in New Orleans, embarks on an existential quest to find meaning.

It’s a scholarly book and fascinating to flip through. Percy biographer Jay Tolson writes the introduction, and a variety of scholars weigh in. H. Collin Messer talks about St. Augustine’s influence on Percy; Mary McCay, one of the book’s editors, talks about Binx as producer, actor, director; and Michael Kobre writes about Springsteen, Bolling and the search for faith and meaning.

I think I’ll take this book to Highlands with me this summer and read it on the porch of the old brown house where I once interviewed Percy, who happened to be wearing a pair of yellow linen pants and was probably the best-looking 64-year-old man I’d ever laid eyes on.