I will announce the winners of The Great Fiction Giveaway at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow. A couple of you are shoo-ins, unless someone else signs up for your book! Of course there’s still tonight and early tomorrow. Consider this a save-the-book gig. These four excellent works of fiction might very well get pulped by some charity organization if they don’t attract buyers. So, you see, it’s really better to give them away.
Remember how thrilled I was to discover Walker Percy’s lost classic, The Second Coming? Percy is a Southern Joseph Heller, another of my other favorite writers, and you should all go out and immediately read TSC. But, sadly, it doesn’t mean that all of Percy’s books are great. I had to exercise my reader’s rights and give up after 100 pages of The Last Gentleman.
After the heavenly experience of reading The Second Coming, I was looking forward to spending more time with Will Barrett, who is also the hero of this earlier novel. But while The Second Coming is beautifully crafted, poetic, funny, philosophical, and thematically unified, The Last Gentleman is a rambling mess. Will is 26 and is a displaced Southerner living at the Y in New York City, he works as a humidifying engineer at Macy’s, he falls in love with a woman he sees through a telescope at Central Park, he quits seeing his psychoanalyst, he periodically blacks out, he becomes involved with the woman he loves (after a bit of stalking), he hitchhikes back South, and…
I just don’t know where this is going.
And so I got stuck at Caribou with this book, unable to keep reading it. I ended up reading the newspaper instead. There was a controversial article about how to cook corn on the cob.
Anyway, I’ll find something else to read by Percy eventually, but I’m on a break from him right now.