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The Moviegoer

Narrated by: Christopher Hurt
Length: 6 hrs and 35 mins
4 out of 5 stars (448 ratings)

Regular price: $13.96

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Publisher's Summary

A winner of the National Book Award, The Moviegoer established Walker Percy as an insightful and grimly humorous storyteller. It is the tale of Binx Bolling, a small-time stockbroker who lives quietly in suburban New Orleans, pursuing an interest in the movies, affairs with his secretaries, and living out his days. But soon he finds himself on a "search" for something more important, some spiritual truth to anchor him.

Binx's life floats casually along until one fateful Mardi Gras week, when a bizarre series of events leads him to his unlikely salvation. In his half-brother Lonnie, who is confined to a wheelchair and soon to die, and his stepcousin Kate, whose predicament is even more ominous, Binx begins to find the sort of "certified reality" that had eluded him everywhere but at the movies.

©1961 Walker Percy (P)1992 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"In a gentle Southern accent narrator Christopher Hurt delivers the story with a slow, lazy lilt which suits the text and evokes a pervading spiritual emptiness." ( AudioFile)
"Clothed in originality, intelligence, and a fierce regard for man's fate....Percy has a rare talent for making his people look and sound as though they were being seen and heard for the first time by anyone." ( Time)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Ignorance is no excuse

Would you be willing to try another one of Christopher Hurt’s performances?

Not likely.

Any additional comments?

Texas' Nacogdoches and Louisiana's Natchitoches (pronounced locally Nack'-e-tish), sister cities across the border demonstrate just how many light years there are between the two states. The reader, I read Texan, and producer have no business allowing the reader to mispronounce place names wholesale creating a fingernails-on-chalkboard experience to an otherwise middling good read. How would anyone think that Feliciana Parish is Felishiana Parish or Chef Menteur pronounced Chef Monture? And those are the easy ones. Only the strength of the writing led me to complete the listen. My copy of the book sprung mold sitting in Katrina water, or I would have abandoned this lazy performance for the excellence of the book.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 10-11-12

Percy's Prose Dances with Grace, Charm and Style

Before I read 'the Moviegoer' my only real exposure to Walker Percy was reading A Confederacy of Dunces (a novel not written by Percy, but one which he discovered, published and wrote the forward to) and through his friendship with Shelby Foote. Anyway, fifty pages into 'the Moviegoer', I was ready to declare my undying love for Walker Percy. 'The Moviegoer' reminded me of a southern Catholic Graham Greene + F. Scott Fitzgerald + William Gaddis. With Greene's Catholic ambiguity and Fitzgerald's sad, romantic tone and Gaddis' playful allusiveness Percy dances with grace, charm and style through the minefield of the modern/postmodern world.

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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The Moral Project

It wasn't until I had strolled around several blocks of the French Quarter (or most of the novel) with the charming narrator Binx that I realized I had joined Binx on a journey, or a search...a Camu, Kierkegaard or Frankl search...for meaning and purpose. One of *those kinds* of books, (listed as one of the 100 most important books of the century)--I was a philosophy/psych major so I enjoy those kinds of books, and the aftereffect...those haunting days afterward when the book still has you in its tenacious mental grip. It is in the afterward that the power and brilliance of the The Moviegoer lies.

Percy's antagonist, Binx, is a genteel southern dandy, from big southern money, who walks the comfortable streets of his home town, narrating the scenery, mixed with a little free association and personal stories from his 30 years. He observes the day to day world, detached and unable to live outside his head. His relationships, both his dalliances with his secretaries and his family interactions, also have an observed quality void of connection since he returned from the Korean war . The novel revolves around Binx's day to day observations and his disconnect rather than any plot. It is in the days after that last page that this novel, and its project, crystallizes in the reader. Not every reader enjoys the thoughtful effort necessary to understand this enigmatic novel; The Moviegoer requires the readers participation in the creative process and some deep thinking--the legacy of Walker Percy's Christian existential philosophies, and truly great writing. To write a review that does this one justice, I'll have to read again and do some deep thinking (a little slow on the grasp)--looking forward to it.

17 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Deep and intelligent

The thing that struct me most of all in this book is that the the author has managed the rare feat of creating a truly intelligent and aware character. Somehow, I almost always get the feeling that writers hold something back from the knowledge or understanding of their characters; the character is never smart enough to see the parallels and symbolism that we, as readers, are expected to follow. And "The Moviegoer" is not like this, which makes it a moving and meaningful book.

Other than that, I found the plot, the ideas and the writing beautiful. In fact, after finishing the book I realized it reminded me of another literary/philosophical masterpiece, "The Nausea" by Jean Paul Sartre. And sure enough, a quick google search showed me that many critics have written about this.

As for the narration: I'm no expert on New Orleans accents, but I thought the reading was very well done, and it was close enough for my ears.

In short: not a book for everyone's taste, but if you like this sort of thing this is a book that will keep you thinking for a long time.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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The Most Boring Book I Ever Read

Wait, this book won the national book award? For what? Being boring? The problem with this book is that anything I could think of at the moment was more interesting than this book. So my mind kept drifting off. Even thinking of what I was going to get at the grocery store days from now was more interesting than this book. I was a literature major in college, so it's not like I don't have experience reading difficult texts. But I didn't see the point of anything in this book. It was like if someone sat you down and told you the most boring events of their past two weeks.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Whiny Mangst

A lot of people with no real problems creating absurd things to whine about. Not even worth a second sentence, but Audible has a character minimum.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Boring

Nothing happens in this book. It reader is wrong for the character. He has a good New Orleans accent but sounds nothing like a handsome upper class young man who loves women.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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novel or philosophy?

A thin plot woven into a philosophical exercise. Worth the time but not for the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I'm sure it is good...

Any additional comments?

Am sure it was good but I could not get into it after multiple attempts. The narrative style is scathingly matter of fact, not for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Terrence Malick’s secret bible

Any additional comments?

This book really is the gem other reviewers make it out to be. I admit the title interested me more than anything. Then that it won whatever award that it did. What I found was more than I hoped. First impression was that filmmaker Terry Malick must have adored Walker Percy in the years leading up to his directorial debut, Badlands. Malick’s whole style appears lifted/borrowed/inspired right from these pages. I felt like I was reading a literary version of a Terrence Malick film, which is a good thing, not a complaint. A point of interest. Malick’s last film to date is called To The Wonder, and that phrase is used somewhere in these pages and to with the context Malick would use it. If you’re a Malick student, then Walker Percy surely would provide some insight. I’d LOVE if Malick made this into a film.

My other impression is Walker Percy himself seemed somewhat inspired by Albert Camus’ The Stranger. By the end, The Moviegoer is really a less violent, fuller and Americanized version of that book. I’m sure there are philosophical differences. Percy is much less enigmatic. Again, if you’re a student of Camus’ The Stranger, The Moviegoer may be of interest.

It’s a beautifully written novel. That’s all I really have to say about it directly. I listen to books more than read them these days. But I might have preferred reading this book as opposed to being exposed to the material with this reader’s narration. I felt like it undermined the mood of the novel. Walker Percy’s words carried weariness, ambiguity, and the reader implied very little of that. He sounded about as bland in a sort of affable Mayberry way as you can get. I don’t understand Audible’s decision to pair him with Percy. Judging from other reviewers, he doesn’t even get the language correct in many places.

I know I’m being obvious, but I feel like Will Patton would have been a perfect reader. He does many French quarter novels. James Lee Burke, etc. Patton’s great. He would have killed here.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful