Signposts in a Strange Land

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Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1991 - Literary Collections - 428 pages
In this collection of occasional writings and interviews, Percy discusses the role of the novelist, the moral obligations of Christians, the place of Herman Melville in American letters, and why Southerners regard him so highly. Other topics are the mysteries of language and human nature, and the failure of science and psychiatry to penetrate those mysteries. He also covers the nature of faith, and the prevalence of the second-rate in American life and culture. Throughout the book, his focus is on the South though he says in the mocking self-interview "I'm sick and tired of talking about the South and hearing about the South." ISBN 0-374-26391-4: $25.00.

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User Review  - Kirkus

A pungent, revealing collection of lectures, essays, and interviews—some previously published in Harper's, The Georgia Review, etc.—by the late novelist (d. 1990). Percy was a quintessentially ... Read full review

Signposts in a strange land

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Eminent physician/novelist Percy ( The Moviegoer ) died in 1990. Accumulated here are many uncollected essays, several seeing publication for the first time, grouped under three headings conceptually ... Read full review

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About the author (1991)

Walker Percy, May 28, 1916 - May 10, 1990 Walker Percy, born in Alabama, raised in Mississippi, and a former resident of Louisiana, was a member of a prominent Southern family who lost his parents at an early age and grew up as the foster son of his father's cousin. Percy graduated from the University of North Carolina and received his M.D. from Columbia, but was a nonpracticing physician who devoted much of his life to his writing. Percy's first novel, The Moviegoer (1961), won the 1962 National Book Award, but Charles Poore considers The Last Gentleman (1966) "an even better book." Love in the Ruins (1971) marks a sharp change in method and subject from the first two novels. A doomsday story set "at the end of the Auto Age," it exposes many foibles and abuses in contemporary life through sharp satire and extravagant fantasy. Whereas Love in the Ruins is funny, Percy's next novel, Lancelot (1977) is the rather bleak and pessimistic story of a deranged man who blows up his home when he finds proof of his wife's infidelities and then tells his story in an asylum for the mentally disturbed. Its apocalyptic vision is expressed in a more positive and affirmative way in The Second Coming (1980), which takes its title from the fact that it resurrects the character of Will Barret from The Last Gentleman and locates him, a quarter-century older, finding love and meaning in a cave.

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