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The Second Coming [Kindle Edition]

Walker Percy
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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The Turner House
The Turners have lived in the same house for over 50 years—a remarkable feat considering the house is in the embattled city of Detroit, surrounded by vacant lots and worth just a tenth of its mortgage. Find out what happens to the house and the offspring brought up in it

Book Description

Percy’s stirring sequel to The Last Gentleman: the offbeat story of how a man’s midlife crisis finally leads him to happiness
Now in his late forties, Will Barrett lives a life other men only dream of. Wealthy from a successful career on Wall Street and from the inheritance of his deceased wife’s estate, Will is universally admired at the club where he spends his days golfing in the North Carolina sun. But everything begins to unravel when, without warning, Will’s golf shots begin landing in the rough, and he is struck with bouts of losing his balance and falling over. Just when Will appears doomed to share the fate of his father—whose suicide has haunted him his whole life—a mental hospital escapee named Allison might prove to be the only one who can save him.
Original and profound, The Second Coming is a moving love story of two damaged souls who find peace with each other.

Editorial Reviews


The Second Coming is wonderfully good reading.” —The New York Times
“Percy has an intellectual range and rigor few American novelists can match.” —The New York Times Book Review

From the Inside Flap

Will Barrett, a lonely widower, suffers from a depression so strange and severe that he decides he doesn't want to continue living. But then he meets Allison, a mental hospital escapee making a new life for herself, living alone in a greenhouse. What follows is by turns touching and zany, tragic and comic, as Will goes in search of proof of God and winds up finding much more.

Product Details

  • File Size: 859 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media (March 29, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,286 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
99 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I almost never read this book...and if I hadn't... September 15, 2004
By Tara
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'd have missed out on what was probably the most profound reading experience of my life.

I read Percy's "The Moviegoer" a few years before I read "The Second Coming." I appreciated Percy's craft, but wasn't particularly fond of "Moviegoer." I, like most passionate readers, will devour all the works of an author when I find a new one I like. Suffice it to say that "Moviegoer" didn't send me in search of the rest of the Walker Percy canon.

Years later, I met someone (of whom I thought very highly) who recommended two books to me: "Second Coming" and "A Confederacy of Dunces." I read Confederacy first (which was also fantastic) and then, somewhat reluctantly, picked up "Second Coming." I think I fell in love before the end of the first chapter. By the time I was finished, I knew this book was my soulmate. I was also sad because I knew that it might be decades before I would ever read another book that would touch me as deeply as this book did.

This story is a difficult one to do justice to in a brief description. I know every inch of this book, as I read it at least once a year now. If you enjoy an introspective, character-driven story, PLEASE read this book. While it's not a romance, it's the most quiet yet compelling love story I've ever read. Percy truly created the OPPOSITE of "inevitable conflict" (i.e. Blanche and Stanley in "Streetcar"); Will and Allie are inevitably one.

This novel is truly underread and underrated. As a another reviewer wrote, I wish I could give this book far more than 5 stars. If I had to spend 50 years on an island with one book, I'd be found on the beach with a dog-eared copy of "The Second Coming."
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61 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wise and Beautiful June 22, 2004
When I read books, I mark up the text and write in the margins pretty thoroughly, and when I am finished with the book, I go back through and copy down my favorite passages. Usually there is only one or two quotes to write down, but The Second Coming was a different matter. Walker Percy has such extraordinary insights and power with words that passage after passage, with their humor, wisdom, and beauty, pierces straight through me. It took me two hours to copy all of the passages I wanted.
The Second Coming is one of the greatest novels that I have ever read, and that is partly because of the quirky story at its heart. Will Barrett, a rich and successful widower, is trapped in his life, a sort of living death. His big first step begins to happen in the first wonderful episode of the novel when he is playing golf and begins to realize it. "Knowing about what is going to happen is having a chance to escape it. If you don't know about it, it will certainly happen to you." From there, Will begins to try to find how to live his life. The other primary character is Allison, a girl escaped from a mental hospital now trying to find out how to live in a world totally new to her. Together, they embark on a quest to be born again into life.
The Second Coming is one of the greatest novels I have ever read. Percy was trained as a physician, and he took those skills to literature. In The Second Coming, he diagnoses American society and tries to find a cure. There is some real wisdom there and most importantly, some real hope. This is a novel that is vastly underrated and one that should not be missed (along with all of Percy's other novels).
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If I Could Rate it Higher, I would!!! February 2, 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've long been familiar with the name, Walker Percy, and of his well-known relative who helped settle the Mississippi Delta, and was one of the most powerful and wealthy planters in that region. But it wasn't until I finally picked up "The Moviegoer" to figure out why that book is so well-respected, that I finally understood why Percy was considered such a phenomonal writer by those in the know. His style is PERFECT. His themes -- PERFECT. I have never read a writer I am more enthralled with. And I like "The Second Coming," too. This guy, if anything, is UNDERRATED. He is as profound as Faulkner, but EASY TO UNDERSTAND (my 11th grade English teacher always taught that you can be as profound as you wish, as long as you make your writing understandable to EVERYONE, ranging from an educated king, to the lowliest peasant, which is a policy that I have personally tried to follow as a published author myself). The Second Coming is an excellent story that explores human depths that so many novelists don't even begin to reach. I now intend to read everything I can get my hands on that this outstanding writer ever wrote.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible book October 13, 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
One of my all-time favorite novels; I've probably read it four or five times. Percy is a writer of intense depth and subtlety. He embraces existentialism on his own terms (Southern, Catholic, ingenious...) and gives the reader clues about finding authenticity in his or her own life. The most amazing part of this book is the ending, which gives us a sad hope in a world that has been made flat with smiling, jocular hopelessness. Read this book, then read it again.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You should read this book February 14, 2003
By Grapey
Do not think of Walker Percy's work as Southern literature. I say this not because it isn't Southern literature, but because hardly anybody seems to understand what Southern literature is. Percy, himself, noted this.
Think of Percy's work as good books that deal with the South, but more importantly with people -- with what it means to be human.
The Second Coming is one of my favorite novels. It deals with the existence of God, the fecklessness of modern life, and any number of other banal, overworked subjects that you might find in any other contemporary novel, but they are enlivened by Percy's malicious wit (he called himself malicious, though his doing so was simply an instance of his peculiar malice, which is not really malice, though its sting is the same). The response to the question of God's existence is a toothache.
Percy writes in a straight-forward, ironic manner, but where normal irony is double-voiced, Percy's is triple-voiced. One must always ask oneself if one is really getting the joke even when one is laughing out loud.
Don't think of Percy as a Southern writer because you can't help but shortchange him when you do so. He presents himself with a Southern drawl, and a casual wit, but behind this is incisive social and psychological commentary, and behind this is yet another layer.
The Second Coming is a fine novel -- a good love story if you can stand the fact that the lovers are a mental patient and a horny widower. Percy tells fine jokes, and tosses you on your rear every other page. This is enough, but it is not all. You can enjoy this novel if you just want to be entertained, but if you are willing to look for it, there is an undertone of malice that isn't malice, and yet deeper, a still, small voice.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great writing, hard to interpret
Dense, not easy to follow novel about two totally different characters. Will is a recent widower about to see his daughter marry a Californian. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Alfred J. Kwak
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book
Published 4 months ago by CMB
2.0 out of 5 stars as well as the awesome old stove
Ordered this after making my list of books that influenced me over the years and realizing I did not have a copy. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Linda Dye
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting...but the book wanders
This book wanders over the same territory too much, points were made then made repeatedly. The plot is slow and characters aren't well developed. Pointless sadness in the plot too
Published 6 months ago by Texas Mystery Lover
5.0 out of 5 stars This was an intriguing book. The characters began as ...
This was an intriguing book. The characters began as people who were seekers - they knew what they were leaving but not where they were headed. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Evening Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Twisted Rails Spin A Tale Worth Every Second of Reading
You can get lost in Percy's train of consciousness but when you finally make sense of the tangle of tracks the story lies bare before you in all of its confounding beauty. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Bryn Williams
1.0 out of 5 stars terrible
Rambling and without connections. Continually looping back to the same event as if the reader cannot recall what was written 10 pages earlier. The middle is particularly painful.
Published 14 months ago by Mdard
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Intersting
I had to read this as a part of a college class. At first I was not very sure about the book because it was nothing like what I normally read. Read more
Published 14 months ago by rnlittleton
5.0 out of 5 stars Percy remains one of America's most outstanding authors
Walker Percy is second only to the likes of Faulkner and Hemingway as America's novel writing treasure. Read more
Published 17 months ago by John Fraiser
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful!
First book I've read by Percy, but certainly not the last. Existentialist optimism is no longer an oxymoron. Percy leads one out of the nihilistic slough of the absurd into hope.
Published 18 months ago by Joel Nethery
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More About the Author

Walker Percy (1916-1990) was one of the most prominent American writers of the twentieth century. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, he was the oldest of three brothers in an established Southern family that contained both a Civil War hero and a U.S. senator. Acclaimed for his poetic style and moving depictions of the alienation of modern American culture, Percy was the bestselling author of six fiction titles--including the classic novel The Moviegoer (1961), winner of the National Book Award--and fifteen works of nonfiction. In 2005, Time magazine named The Moviegoer one of the best English-language books published since 1923.

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