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The Second Coming Mass Market Paperback – November 28, 1989


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Ivy Books (November 28, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804105421
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804105422
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,863,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

''Splendid . . . a beautifully textured novel . . . a distinguished work of art . . . Walker Percy's perception luminously lights up obscure depths of experience without at the same time explaining that experience away.''--The New York Times Book Review

''What a pleasure . . . His best book since The Moviegoer . . . and among the most admirable American novels of the past few years.'' --The New Republic

''He is a beguiling, uniquely gifted novelist who deserves to be read in order and in full.'' --Newsweek

''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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.

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.

Customer Reviews

His style is PERFECT.
Hugh Pearson
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.
Oddsfish
By the time I was finished, I knew this book was my soulmate.
Tara

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Tara on September 15, 2004
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 By Oddsfish VINE VOICE on June 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
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 By Hugh Pearson on 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 By A Customer on October 13, 1998
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 By Grapey on February 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
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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