Existentialism, semiotics, and iced tea

Going back to 1985, Roger Kimball reviews a collection of conversations with Walker Percy.

Mr. Percy’s chief concern as a novelist is with ”the dislocation of man in the modern age,” with the sense of ennui and meaninglessness that has shadowed so many lives, even – or perhaps especially – in the midst of affluence. ”The thing that fascinates me,” he tells one interviewer, ”is the fact that men can be well-off, judging by their own criteria, with all their needs satisfied, goals achieved, et cetera, yet as time goes on, life is almost unbearable. Amazing!” Thus in his first and most celebrated work, ”The Moviegoer” (which won the National Book Award in 1962), we find the bemused protagonist, Binx Bolling, engaged in ”the search”: an amorphous, yet desperate, struggle to escape from the emptiness that suffuses his quiet, everyday life in a New Orleans suburb.