Well I have discovered the problem in trying to read fifty-two books in a year: it does not allow for reading the same book twice. The Moviegoer, as The Atlantic contributor Andrew Santella suggests, should be read fifty, one hundred, countless times. The book is addicting, in some weird way. I get the sense that the author has stirred some slow, alcoholic toxin into the pages, and something about the book is freeing, but also very. . . not.
What I'm trying to say is that I have absolutely no idea what to feel about this book. But I finished it tonight because today is Sunday and tomorrow is Monday and I have a temporary job this month, and I have no time for dawdling. I also have less energy for reading, in general.
The Moviegoer is about a man named Binx Bolling (real name, "Jack"), living in Gentilly, Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans. It's the 1950s, the cinema era, and Binx finds himself a slow, boring man, on the edge of turning thirty, living in the land of Mardi Gras revelry--and strict Southern gentility. His mother has died and his Aunt Emily presides over his life a little too much for his liking. So it seems. Aunt Emily's daughter, Kate, is a slightly deranged young person (or, is she? Her thoughts are wild yet often quite accurate, she's impulsive, but. . . so are a lot of young people her age, which is--uh, pre-thirties), and Binx is kind of in love with her. Maybe. But he equally enjoys sizing up girls on the street, secretaries in his office and women in cable cars. He likes having flings. And he likes watching films.
"For years now I have had no friends. I spend my entire time working, making money, going to movies and seeking the company of women." (41)
Disenchanted with the churning everydayness of his life, content to watch television and live vicariously through movie screen actors, Binx decides to embark on a "search," a quest to elevate his life beyond what he thinks it's amounted to. (Which is basically: nothing).
What will his search reveal? Will Binx truly find a higher level of existence to supersede the nine-to-five, desert-like livelihood? Will he find a woman (Kate?) that proves better, more wonderful, more to his taste than his most recent secretary, Sharon?
What will Aunt Emily say if he flees New Orleans to seek out truth in a land he's never known? What will he find in that land? Who will he leave behind, what will he learn about himself?
I'll reread the book, and muster up the strength to write a comment next week (or in a month!), and answer my own frantic questions. Truly, asking them makes me tired. Which makes me think: oh crap, that probably means this book is important.
Sometimes, the regularity of a nine-to-five job sounds relaxing.
keep reading, friends.