61 years ago today, one of my all time favorite books won the National Book Award. The Moviegoer by Walker Percy faced stiff competition, including from another book that makes my top ten list: Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road.
More recently, I wrote an appreciation of Percy's novel for The New Statesman.
As I said at the time:
"Some novels simply do not go away. They lodge in your consciousness, expanding rather than disappearing after the last page is turned. Although there are countless other books waiting to be read, you find yourself returning to this one, hungry and perplexed, and even a bit uneasy about its effect on you. Its mysteries deepen with each reading. Your curiosity about it is never quenched. You cannot dispense with it.
The Moviegoer has proved to be just such a book for me, as it has for countless others."
My words helped get the novel back into print in the UK—although it is shocking that it was out of print in the first place.
As it happens, tomorrow I am off to the Turin Film Festival for ten days of movie-going of my own. I think I know what I will read on the plane.
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