The auto age is defunct. Buicks, Chryslers, and Pontiacs disfigure the landscape. Vines sprout in Manhattan. Wolves are seen in downtown Cleveland. And psychiatrist, mental hospital outpatient, and inventor Dr. Tom More has created a miraculous instrument: the ontological lapsometer, a kind of stethoscope of the human spirit. With it, he plans to cure mankind’s spiritual flu. But first, he must survive Moira, Lola, and Ellen - and discover why so many living people are actually dead.
Attempting to save the world from completely destroying itself, Tom ultimately begins to understand the quality and caprices of life and the uncontrollable vagaries of time and chance.
©1971 Walker Percy (P)2000 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"A comedy of love against a field of anarchy…. Percy is easily one of the finest writers we have." (New York Times Book Review)
"A great adventure.… So outrageous and so real, one is left speechless." (Chicago Sun Times)
"Immensely readable, vividly entertaining." (Los Angeles Times)
My first taste of Walker Percy. Why did I not read this years ago? Evelyn Waugh meets sci-fi in a Southern setting.
Grover Gardner has a pleasing deadpan delivery that suits the prose and plot. Some of the accents were not convincing but that did not detract much from the whole.
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
Every time I read Walker Percy I fall in love. I seduce myself into thinking I'm actually just a bad Catholic and promise myself that next time I get a chance I will lose myself in the desert, the woods, or anywhere I can see the cold stars and the burning sand and live forever somewhere in between.
Reading another Percy novel is like discovering an unopened can of cashews in the cupboard. The amount of joy and delight I get from reading and laughing at Percy's absurd view of religion, life, love, the modern era, etc., is really only approached by a handful of lightly salted cashews and sex. 'Love in the Ruins' is messy and weird and probably could have been edited a bit, but it ALL still works perfectly for me. I laughed through every paragraph and each mark of punctuation. Percy's bad, crazy genius, almost polygamist, Catholic protagonists speak to me in ways that most philosophers (old and new), preachers (godly and godless), and politicians (left or right) fail to. He seems to occupy the ground of the fellow traveler who is just as lost and mistaken as you, but possesses a bit more whit and some extra whiskey.
So where does this novel stack up? It was like a friendly dystopian novel. It was like McCarthy decided to write a comic novel. The vines of his morality slide and creep through every page and his humor dances like a purple martin at dusk. The book might only be objectively a four star novel, but this is my review dammit and I own and carry my biases and I love Walker Percy because he makes me want to both believe AND misbehave.
I love this book. I listen to it once a year. It puts my soul right again. I highly recommend it
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