30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Always the Novelist,
This review is from: The Message in the Bottle: How Queer Man Is, How Queer Language Is, and What One Has to Do with the Other (Paperback)
The precursor to the, in comparision, pithy 'Lost in the Cosmos,' Message in a Bottle is less accessible than his later, more famous, book. However, Message... provides all of the necessary academic rigor that 'Lost in the Cosmos' lacks (not that LC is not a great book, it is).
Percy claims that he is, in fact, not philosopher or scientist. Rather, he wishes to be thought of as mere novelist writing as he perceives scientists and philosophers. In fact, this is a sort of claim of superiority in the sense that Percy thinks he knows more about philosophers and scientists than they know about themselves (which may be true). Even so, Percy's methods are quite scientific and philosophic. Message in a Bottle deals with the most important question of all: What is Man? Percy contends, as any good Heideggerian would, that we are essentially castaways on an island. We aren't quite sure how we got here and we don't quite know what we're supposed to do now that we are here. But Percy is a Thomist, not an existentialist (although the two are connected). While Percy finds the greatest evidence for our essential 'lostness' in the altogether baffling phenomenon of language, Percy is nevertheless concerned with what we are to do about out anxiety about existence. Percy is interested in pursuing the Thomistic project; 'completing' reason with revelation.