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An American Apocalypse - A Black Comedy Of The Spirit,
This review is from: Love in the Ruins (Paperback)
Originally written in the aftermath of the social upheavals of the 1960s, this book may seem dated to some. But if the specific social context has changed, the fragmentation of American society continues unabated, as does the crisis of the human spirit that this book describes and addresses. So, for me, the book remains supremely relevant, supremely perceptive, brilliantly written, and hilariously funny.
Set in the Deep South of an America in a virtual state of civil war and anarchy, "Love In The Ruins" follows the exploits of its flawed hero, Dr. Tom More, a boozing psychiatrist and lapsed Catholic. More has invented the lapsometer - a "stethoscope of the soul" - that enables people to both diagnose and treat their inner demons. But in the wrong hands, the lapsometer can wreak havoc, and much of the book traces More's efforts to keep the lapsomoter out of the hands of a government determined to use the lapsometer for its own nefarious purposes.
Percy brilliantly describes and satirizes the competing elements in this American Apocalypse - the country club conservatives, the "groovy" priests, the religious Right and Left, the technocrats, the sexologists, the racists, the Black revolutionaries, the drop-outs, and the sinister but bungling government bureaucrats who have their own vision of a "Brave New World."
From its masterful opening pages (which, contrary to another reviewer, I think are just about the best writing I've seen in modern American literature) this book will outrage partisans of the Left and Right while giving hope to those who try to occupy the "radical center" where the human spirit is defended against the predations of all the "isms" of the modern world.
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Initial post: Sep 24, 2011 9:05:45 PM PDT
I am on the right and I am not at all outraged by anything in this book.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2011 12:04:02 PM PDT
Stephen J. Triesch says:
I also lean right and loved the book, but I think there are elements of the right - perhaps Southern evangelical Protestants - who would not. Percy kind of mocks the God-and-country mentality that is dear to them. That kind of comes out in the first page or two.
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