Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Five best books on mortality and existential angst

Jon Krakauer is the author of Where Men Win Glory, Under the Banner of Heaven, Eiger Dreams, Into the Wild, and Into Thin Air.

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of books about mortality and existential angst. One novel on his list:
The Moviegoer
by Walker Percy

Oblique and haunting, set in 1950s New Orleans during Mardi Gras, Walker Percy's novel "The Moviegoer" spans a week in the life of John Bickerson "Binx" Bolling. This scion of the Southern aristocracy, wounded in the Korean War, is about to turn 30 and is content working 9-to-5, seducing a succession of pretty secretaries and going to the movies. But one morning he wakes up feeling like a castaway "on a strange island" and begins reconsidering his complacent existence. Binx embarks on an existential quest to transcend the "fitful twilight" of "everydayness" and impulsively decides to marry his manic-depressive cousin, Kate. "They all think any minute I'm going to commit suicide," Kate confides. "What a joke. The truth of course is the exact opposite: suicide is the only thing that keeps me alive. Whenever everything else fails, all I have to do is consider suicide and in two seconds I'm as cheerful as a nitwit."
Read about the other books on Krakauer's list.

The Moviegoer is one of Richard Ford's 5 most essential books.

--Marshal Zeringue