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The Second Coming: A Novel Paperback – September 13, 1999
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“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 nook 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
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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Not to mention, Percy knows how to tell a story. And the plotting is perfect, with a twist at the end that is unpredictable and contextually perfect.
The man is an American literary master. You must read him!
I agree with a previous reviewer that The Moviegoer, which won him the National Book Award, is not his best work. A lot of people read that book, which was a big deal in 1961, but his subsequent novels are much richer.
His usual themes are here, the south, the Jews, the negroes, faith, golf, light reflecting off of objects, oddities of language and the ways we communicate.
It all fits into a sweet story of two temporarily lost souls and what happens to them.
Some of the characters are from an earlier Percy novel, The Last Gentleman.
Allison, one of the characters, is reading Captain Blood, written by Sabatini. One person described the protagonist of Captain Blood as someone born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. This is a good line to remember whenever you are reading Percy.
I didn't laugh as much in The Second Coming as I do in other Percy novels. But I did fall in love with this book.
There are oddities all through and, as in all of Percy's novels, you have to wait until the end to see what the author is driving at.
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."