This article does not cite any sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. December Learn how and when to remove this template message. Works by Walker Percy. The Message in the Bottle Lost in the Cosmos Meantime he becomes involved, insofar as he can, with Kitty's family, the Vaughts: These give a harder satiric edge to the book than was achieved in the earlier one; so does the final scene, the death watch over Jaimie, which is certainly powerful.
But there are times when following Walker Percy is a little like trying to catch your shadow. On the other hand he writes about his elusive young man and his elliptical world in such matter of fact prose and with seemingly random details which are actually, intentionally, a commentary on modern life and all its flimsy props. This gives the book much of its contrast and interest Attention seems assured if agreement over some of the implications less likely.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Do you work in the book industry? Whether it be Brooklyn or Birmingham I seldom appreciate accounts of banal domesticity, neurosis laden diaries. I have really made poor choices lately. I'm aware The Moviegoer should be one I object to, but I love it. I just noted th Whether it be Brooklyn or Birmingham I seldom appreciate accounts of banal domesticity, neurosis laden diaries. I just noted that I have not read Lost In the Cosmos: View all 11 comments. Mar 31, Laura rated it really liked it.
My first Percy but definitely not my last. His words are addictive. Very much interested in how much of the main character is autobiographical, just curious. View all 3 comments. Apr 25, Abby rated it it was ok. Written in , Percy's second novel following the classic "The Moviegoer. A vehicle for Percy's ideas on philosophy, theology, the South and more. I suffered existential angst trying to get through it. Sep 24, Paul rated it liked it. Walker Percy, a much-honored novelist, might be best known in some circles for his noble effort to get the great "Confederacy of Dunces" published after its author, John Kennedy O'Toole, committed suicide.
Percy knows great writing when he sees it, and his novel,"The Last Gentleman," features some great writing. It features a cast of largely unlikable characters, in Walker Percy, a much-honored novelist, might be best known in some circles for his noble effort to get the great "Confederacy of Dunces" published after its author, John Kennedy O'Toole, committed suicide. It features a cast of largely unlikable characters, including its protagonist. It doesn't follow traditional narrative.
It suffers from the usual dated references of 60s novels concerning race and the South. But it's a great, often quite funny and moving, ride nevertheless. Briefly, the story revolves around a very confused transplanted Southerner who stumbles upon the girl of his dreams through a telescope while she is reading a cryptic note on a park bench. Then it gets weird. Key characters include the bizarre members of a Gothic Southern clan, the world's worst psychiatrist and a white filmmaker driving around the South pretending to be black.
It makes a little more sense than that, but only a little.
You sense Percy is playing games with the reader and you don't really mind. Percy is an often profound philosopher. His insights on the importance of place and the universal need for acceptance are brilliant and often profound. Some of his characters reach remarkable understandings via the title character, but not all of them. The journey is what counts -- and, with just a little patience, you'll enjoy the trip. Jul 18, Paul rated it it was ok. Because the "engineer" is admittedly a very haunting character in certain respects.
Life going nowhere because of neurosis and the inability to actually choose a path in life instead of wallowing in potential? God, the man is writing about me. I wish I had a plantation and a check every month, however modest.
Unfortunately, the book is - rife with annoying generalist musings about the nature of life, the South, mental illness, blah, blah, blah; - populated by characters who all feel flat and artificial and one suspects all have the same palette of mental illnesses; - clearly going nowhere fast. My brother has a hockey card as a bookmark halfway through the book on the page with a passage that I will loosely quote: Life is too damn short to read about meaningless middle class lost souls wandering through life having pointless affairs and dabbling in trifles.
Jan 11, David Withun rated it it was amazing Shelves: One of Walker Percy's several masterpieces, this book tells the story of Will Barrett, a man who suffers from bouts of memory loss and who, through his own peculiarities, ends up intimately attached to a Southern family he encounters while living in New York City. Like all of Percy's novels, this is both a fascinating story and an exploration of life through the insights of Christian existentialists like Kierkegaard and Dostoyevsky. Some of the concepts Percy explores in this novel are elucidate One of Walker Percy's several masterpieces, this book tells the story of Will Barrett, a man who suffers from bouts of memory loss and who, through his own peculiarities, ends up intimately attached to a Southern family he encounters while living in New York City.
Some of the concepts Percy explores in this novel are elucidated in Lost in the Cosmos and his other nonfiction works, which the reader may desire to read as well in order to further enjoy Percy's fiction. In particular, I found his exploration of semiotics in relation to transcendence in Lost in the Cosmos to provide a great deal of insight into the sections of Sutter's notebook read by Barrett--notes which, in turn, illuminate the entire novel and all of its characters.
Mar 30, Felix rated it it was amazing. My favorite of Walker Percy's novels.
Williston Bibb Barrett, the protagonist, although that is a somewhat inappropriate label for him, wanders through the novel reacting to other people in a highly mannered way, initiating very little, but his very self-effacement presents a tabula rasa for those around him to fill in. Somewhere in this book I remember seeing the description of manners as existing so that "nobody would ever not know what to do. Billy is subject to "fugue states" which leave him un-moored from a sense of self or even his name, from time to time.
He is not unlike the character of Chance the gardener in Being There by Jerzy Kosinski in his effect on other people, who read their own values into Chance's simplistic gardening commentary. Chance is limited and simple all the time, where Billy can sometimes rise to function as an entire human being, until his fugue state settles in. The lives of the other characters in Percy's book are greatly influenced by their encounters with Billy Barrett, while Billy drifts on the surface of his life, gently nudged this way and that.
This was an unusual reading experience for me. I slogged through the book and the story never gripped me. I even considered giving it up about pages in.
However, I was always conscious of the undeniable skill of the author and wanted to find out how he ended the story. He had something very tangible to say that was developing in a seemingly disconnected, but very unique way. I may come back and write a review after I mull things over, because this is a remarkable book with a powerful ending.
I can't say I enjoyed the book overall, but I was impressed with the way it was put together and have to say, Walker Percy was a very gifted writer indeed. View all 5 comments.
Just finished this wonderful journey of a book. Barrett is a wonderful surreal character living on the edge of his own life. He holds in his soul the confusion and disorientation that comes from living old in a modern world. Percy is a master of both dialogue and the stream of consciousness. This last gentleman is a tragic but enviable character. For those living in the South, or familiar with this strange place facing the Gulf, Percy's references will truly hit home. The author is a master of his native domain. Looking forward to the sequel.
Jun 12, Marion rated it it was amazing. This book, based in small part on Dostoevsky's The Idiot, is, is, is everything. The final pages will make you tremble or cry, or just appreciate how we kiss and kick around despair. Mar 30, Simon Robs rated it really liked it. Walker Percy's second novel also picaresque Southern gentleman's look at the world going on around him as he tries to fit in while making sense.
There is an interest Walker Percy's second novel also picaresque Southern gentleman's look at the world going on around him as he tries to fit in while making sense.
There is an interesting story here unfolding and the characters keep building the gothic column unto death's presence giving in to life's resistant pull. There's some canny verisimilitude some parallel furls to the "Glass family" as in J. But it goes on, there's a sequel come after two other novels between have read them both not reviewed "The Second Coming" - will wait to finish that before a review capturing thoughts from both. Sep 19, Neal rated it did not like it. I am giving this book one star because I did not like it.
The beginning was ok It concerns a young man transplanted from the South living in a YMCA apartment working the night shift in a basement.
The Last Gentleman is a novel by Walker Percy. The narrative centers on the character of Williston Bibb Barrett, a man born in the Mississippi Delta who. The Last Gentleman: A Novel and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle. The Last Gentleman: A Novel Paperback – September 4, This item:The Last Gentleman: A Novel by Walker Percy Paperback $
Perfect - young man stuck in the labrynth. This I can work with. But then he meets some other characters and goes on a road trip down South and the whole book falls apart. It's the South with a capital S - Walker Percy is one of those southern authors you read in college - so of course he tries to m I am giving this book one star because I did not like it. It's the South with a capital S - Walker Percy is one of those southern authors you read in college - so of course he tries to make everything symbolic and allegorical.
It is just hard to follow and some of the characterizations are really racist. It was written in the 60s but has the racial norms of hundred years earlier. So altogether and fairly pretentious and turgid read. I really enjoyed this book. It was strange; the author made some interesting choices, like calling his narrator "the engineer" all the time, instead of by his name.
This was odd, because all the characters called him by his name, but for the first part of the book he doesn't interact with anyone, so you don't learn his name until 50 pages in or so. There's a ton of philosophy in here, no surprise from Percy, and overall the story is mostly compelling a I really enjoyed this book. There's a ton of philosophy in here, no surprise from Percy, and overall the story is mostly compelling and the characters are somewhat interesting. The middle sagged for me, though, I found myself drifting off into La La Land while reading. Barrett is a meanderer for the ages, so the plot is, well, meandering, and nothing really seems to have much gravitas.
He finds himself with less than a dollar to his name, yet this doesn't bother him, and later in the book he has more money than he knows what to do with, though this doesn't seem to affect him either. And not in a "money isn't important" sort of way.
Also, he sometimes seems to be deeply in love with a woman named Kitty, though at times fairly ambivalent toward her. There just seemed to be a lot of nonchalance inherent in the characters, which made me care less about what happened to them. Often I couldn't tell if the narrator was meant to be liked or pitied or if he was just meant to seem pathetic.
Anyway, though, the final scene -- in fact the entire last section of the book -- is great. Barrett's doting relationship with Vaught is compelling. I liked The Moviegoer a lot more than this, but I'll keep reading Percy's stuff. He's a unique writer. Apr 11, Christian rated it really liked it Shelves: The Last Gentleman is difficult to review and I kind of think that I should reread it to really get a grasp of many of the ideas presented within. The book follows a young man who somewhat lacks an identity and constantly suffers from bouts of amnesia.
Through him the author explores themes of identity, society, and religion.