The Moviegoer...didn't go

I've recently finished reading Percy Walker's The Moviegoer for my scattered book club from Scotland and I have to say that it left me wanting...a lot. I can't put my finger on what I didn't like about this book; perhaps it was my lack of interest in any of the characters or the writing style that disappointed, despite the fact that it won the National Book Award for Fiction.
I had such high hopes for this read for many reason. 1) I will soon be heading to Biloxi and New Orleans to meet up with the above mentioned book club, 2) I tend to like novels set in the South, and 3) the synopsis sounded intriguing. Alas, I was let down.
As a breakdown to why I didn't enjoy this read I offer the following: the characters bored my to death...and I wish it had done so to Kate! I feel that the major failing in this work rests in the complete lack of kinship the reader feels with any of the characters presented, much like Flaubert's characters in A Sentimental Education. Binx is a scatter-brained cad who rests on his laurels and wants to lay every woman he sees. Kate is a manic-depressive, bipolar disaster who needs constant attention and approval. Together they present the reader with nothing. They simply fade into the words on the page. There are other minor characters: Sharon, Binx's secretary and latest sexual conquest, Binx's Aunt, who offers some of the better lines, as well as some others too minor to mention.
Yes, there were instances of shining stardom, but those were so few and far between that, when they did happen, they quickly became lost in the ho-hum.
In the end there were a few notable quotes that I pulled from the mire that was The Moviegoer:
1) "Before, I wandered as a diversion. Now I wander seriously and sit and read as a diversion" (70). What a perfect way to describe Binx...a constant diversion.
2) "All the friendly and likeable people seem dead to me; only the haters seem alive" (100). Too bad Kate didn't take her own advice here.
3) "At night the years come back and perch around my bed like ghosts" (144). One of the more haunting images that Percy invokes. Much more in the spirit of New Orleans and what one would expect.
Despite my complete dislike and disappointment in this book, I am extremely excited to venture to the South and explore the glossed over locations that Percy peppers throughout the text. Here's to Southern Shenanigans!

Comments

  1. Good to see you posting again :) I plan on making a better case for The Moviegoer after a few drinks and driving you to NOLA!

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  2. Please do! I shall leave my ultimate decision until after our epic adventure!

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