Walker Percy writes of a directionless man from New Orleans who seems only able to find substance in films.
Nowadays when a person lives somewhere, in a neighborhood, the place is not certified for him. More than likely he will live there sadly and the emptiness which is inside him will expand until it evacuates the entire neighborhood. But if he sees a movie which shows his very neighborhood, it becomes possible for him to live, for a time at least, as a person who is Somewhere but not Anywhere.Percy develops the inner turmoil of Binx, a New Orleans stockbroker who struggles with life, thinks too much for his own good.
Not in a thousand years could I explain it, but it is no small thing for me to make a trip, travel hundreds of miles across the country by night to a strange place and come out where there is a different smell in the air and people have a different way of sticking themselves into the world.Percy’s reflections of human malaise are equal to his descriptions of the New Orleans.
Evening is the best time in Gentilly. There are not so many trees and the buildings are low and the world is all sky. The sky is a deep ocean full of light and life.
And yet for all of his mastery, the story gets lost in a warren of thoughts, none of it making much sense, not the characters, the story and certainly not the end. Everydayness is the enemy. No search is possible. Perhaps there was a time when everydayness was not too strong and one could break its grip by brute strength. Now nothing breaks it – but disaster.