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 Post subject: "Lancelot" - Walker Percy
PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 6:12 pm 
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Master
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Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 10:13 am
Posts: 1506
Location: Wisconsin
Religion: Roman Catholic
This is my 4th Walker Percy book. And I'm hoping that I'm able to start developing a better understanding of what he's saying.
"The Last Gentleman" was the most straightforward one I read yet... and that was still a bit confusing.
"The Moviegoer" only made sense after I read a bunch of reviews on the book.
"Love in the Ruins" was too confusing that I stopped reading it.


So far "Lancelot" feels more in the "Last Gentleman" category. It's pretty funny, not too abstract nor rambly (so far).

The theme is pretty consistent with "Last Gentleman" and "The Moviegoer" (and the part of "Love in the Ruins" I made it through). A man a bit unmoored from the day-to-day requirements and worldly aspirations of your more typical person.

He seems to be in a similar place as Binx Bolling in The Moviegoer.... knowing he no longer fits in with the rest who are focused on the trappings of life, but not certain what else is out there for him. Kind of like Binx who knew he was uprooted from that mindset but lost as to whether there was no purpose to life at all.... but for Binx it wasn't until the end when the glimpse of the Divine started to break through.

Good so far.

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For who we are and what we'll be/ I'll sing your praise eternally/ the miles we've shared I'd trade but few/ they're the ones that kept me away from you.


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 Post subject: Re: "Lancelot" - Walker Percy
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:38 pm 
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Sons of Thunder
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I actually hated Lancelot until the last word of the book. Literally the very last word changed my entire view of it. Can't say I've ever had that happen before.

I thoroughly enjoyed Love in the Ruins and its sequel, The Thanatos Syndrome.

If you want a good idea of Percy's views, I recommend Lost in the Cosmos (which is not a novel).

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 Post subject: Re: "Lancelot" - Walker Percy
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 6:49 pm 
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Master
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Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 10:13 am
Posts: 1506
Location: Wisconsin
Religion: Roman Catholic
Ha! Funny you mention hating it until the last word of the book. I've been looking for expositions or simple reviews on the book.
I've come across more negative reviews than good ones. One of the good ones said essentially the same that you're saying. I can only find a blurb from the review because the original link is dead. But it's from Amy Welborn. And she pretty much says that it wasn't until the final word of the book where she warmed up to the book.

I'm not even half way through yet.

I was wrong (at least so far) with thinking that this Lancelot Lamar was like Binx Bolling (what's with Percy's alliterations??). Lancelot seems to hover around mean spirited. Or, at least intrigued with doing something evil for its own sake. Because, according to him, true evil (I guess one not motivated by a disordered passion towards what it thinks a good end) true sinful behavior would almost prove God's existence.

I don't recall Binx being that debased in his soliloquies.

Still though... I'm liking the book so far.

There's a great/clever passage from it:


"I forgot to tell you another thing that happened in the parlor, a small but perhaps significant thing. As I stepped into the parlor with its smell of lemon wax and damp horsehair, I stopped and shut my eyes a moment to get used to the darkness. Then as I crossed the room to the sliding doors, something moved in the corner of my eye. It was a man at the far end of the room. He was watching me. He did not look familiar. There was something wary and poised about the way he stood, shoulders angled, knees slightly bent as if he were prepared for anything. He was mostly silhouette but white on black like a reversed negative. His arms were long, one hanging lower and lemur-like from dropped shoulder. His head was cocked, turned enough so I could see the curve at the back. There was a sense about him of a vulnerability guarded against, an overcome gawkiness, a conquered frailty. Seeing such a man one thought first: Big-headed smart-boy type; then thought again: But he’s big too. If he hadn’t developed his body, he’d have a frail neck, two tendons, and a hollow between, balancing that that big head. He looked like a long-distance runner who has conquered polio. He looked like a smart sissy rich boy who has devoted his life to getting over it.
“Then I realized it was myself reflected in the dim pier mirror.”"

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For who we are and what we'll be/ I'll sing your praise eternally/ the miles we've shared I'd trade but few/ they're the ones that kept me away from you.


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