Walker Percy wrote several books of fiction and nonfiction, including the bestsellers The Moviegoer and The Thanatos Syndrome. He was awarded numerous prizes during his lifetime, including the National Book Award, and is considered one of the greatest American writers of our time. He died in 1990.
The Second Comingby Walker Percy
Will Barrett (also the hero of Percy's The Last Gentleman) is a lonely widower suffering from a depression so severe that he decides he doesn't want to continue living. But then he meets Allison, a mental hospital escapee making a new life for herself in a greenhouse. The Second Coming is by turns touching and zany, tragic and comic, as Will sets out/i>/i>… See more details below
Will Barrett (also the hero of Percy's The Last Gentleman) is a lonely widower suffering from a depression so severe that he decides he doesn't want to continue living. But then he meets Allison, a mental hospital escapee making a new life for herself in a greenhouse. The Second Coming is by turns touching and zany, tragic and comic, as Will sets out in search of God's existence and winds up finding much more.
- Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- 1st ed
- Product dimensions:
- 5.78(w) x 8.46(h) x 1.25(d)
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Excellent book and a great read about what really matters in life. To the reviewer who called it boring reading about the two main characters problems, you have it all wrong! The rest of society has the problems Will and Allie have the solution.
This book re-enters the life of Will Barrett, about twenty years after the events in Walker's earlier novel about Will - - The Last Gentleman. It may not be necessary to read the books in chronological sequence, but I did, and think I enjoyed this book much more than I would have without the background. Will is a kind of messiah in this book, as he was in The Last Gentleman, hence the title (perhaps). He saves a person important to him in each book, and thereby also saves himself. His father's suicide, its meaning and effect on his life, are explored more deeply than in The Last Gentleman. Will finds himself an early retiree, wealthy widower, former Wall Street trusts and estates lawyer, paragon of civic virtue, and out-of-his mind with obsessions he rarely discusses, about the existence of God, the coming of the Apocalypse, and the significance of Israel and the Jews. He meets the daughter of a former fiancee, who cleverly manages her escape from more buzz-therapy by writing instructions to herself to follow while her memory still is clouded from ECT, because the recovery room provides the best chance of success. They meet a couple of times when Will finds her living in a greenhouse near a golf course, but become more seriously involved when Will literally 'drops in' on her in one of the more remarkable encounter scenes in literature. Both are in danger of being committed, so greedy relatives can gain control over their considerable estates, and there is some suspense over whether they can survive the schemes of their relatives. I can see how this book will not appeal to everyone. Its humor mostly is in its descriptions of Southern men and women, of every background, which may not be to everyone's taste. It also obsesses on the suicide of Will's father, which is important to the story, but might seem repetitive to some readers. I enjoy Mr. Percy's combinations of characters from all parts of society, and mixture of theology, and philosophy, with observations about the behavior of dogs, and sabre-toothed tigers.
Percy's novel portrays what it is like to search for Truth in a secularized society. Allie is one of the most amazing characters in all fiction! If you enjoy poetry, you will see the connection with Yeats' poem of the same title and how Allie represents the poet in modern society as she attempts to 'dislocate language into meaning' (as T.S. Eliot would say).
While I tried not to be critical of the writer's style because in of itself it's not bad, I found myself getting so irritated that I couldn't help but be critical. The story is relayed to us in such a dispassionate manner by the two main characters you feel as if you are intruding on them as they watch themselves and describe this watching process to us. It's dry, toneless and wordy. I have to say if you are looking for a book about finding yourself or coming to some sort of spiritual closure you can just forget it. While the two main characters have many problems they certainly don't necessarily provide any insight that someone else can use in their efforts to get their lives back on track. In a nutshell this book is long, boring, without real insight and totally without any emotion.