I suggested the novel The Moviegoer by Walker Percy for a book club I am involved with that encompasses my friends from graduate school at the University of Edinburgh. The novel is set during Mardi Gras week in New Orleans leading up to the main characters thirtieth birthday on Ash Wednesday. I chose it because when the girls come to visit me in about three weeks (YAY!) we can discuss the book in New Orleans itself.
While taking a class in the modern American novel, I semi-read a book titled Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis. It was set about ten years earlier than The Moviegoer, and is based on the same premise. A working class red blooded American man on his quest for meaning in his life. However, The Moviegoer had more clout than Babbitt. Maybe it is due to the fact that the southern characters come to life for me. I have seen bits and pieces of these characters throughout my entire life. The main character named Binx Bolling is a New Orleans stock broker from a well to do family that lives in the Garden District. Although he is an avid ladies main successfully seducing every secretary that works under him, the one woman he truly cares about is his step-cousin Kate who suffers from server depression. It is one of those novels that you have to read all the way through to get the 360 view of the characters life, and the main action happens in the last ten chapters or so. Before that the reader is treated with a real taste of what is left of southern culture.
I am going to save the rest of my thoughts for my book talk in March, but i must say it is a true Southern American classic.
* Me in New Orleans Spring of 2010*