Anyone else not like Percy's "The Moviegoer"?

I’ve just emerged from the three-week torturous effort that reading this book was. It’s so highly acclaimed, yet I enjoyed not one thing about it. It consisted of two hundred and fifty pages of pure setting and character description, with virtually no plot. Blah blah blah Gentilly, blah blah blah my aunt, blah blah blah Sharon, blah blah “the search” blah blah Kate blah blah catatonia-inducing painstaking page-long discussion of a character’s body movements as he converses with Binx. Nothing interesting happens until the very end, when Binx marries Kate. Even that wasn’t particularly thrilling.

What I’m really worried about is the prospect that having been out of school for several years now, I’ve lost my ability to read and appreciate “literary” fiction. I mean, back in high school and college, I read and enjoyed Crime and Punishment, A Tale of Two Cities, Jane Eyre, and several other classics. But the whole time I was suffering through The Moviegoer, I was secretly longing for some good Stephen King or Philip K. Dick instead.

Is there a secret to this book that I missed somehow? Am I alone here?

Wow. I’d never heard of this book until about three weeks ago, when somebody else picked it for my book club.

I’m not getting it either. They’re coming back from Chicago now. I guess I’ll probably finish it tonight.

There have been a few bits that caught me. Like Kate’s statement about being religious, and that God isn’t. But overall, it’s not grabbing me. I’ll let you know if I have any great insights in the morning.

I read it a few years ago and it slid off my mind into oblivion. Nothing stuck with me, and I remember thinking the entire time “why is this so good?”.

Just because they’re “classics” doesn’t mean you have to like or appreciate all of them, right?

I prefer The Second Coming, Lancelot, and The Last Gentleman - probably in that order. Recently reread Moviegoer - was underwhelmed again.

Not a big fan of his later work - Love in the Ruins, etc.

OK, all done. Still not loving it. I am curious about why it was considered so great at the time.

I’m considering the possibility that it’s the “atmosphere.” While reading it, I could just imagine some reviewer praising the supposedly brilliant, evocative, penetrating descriptions of the locations and the characters. Also, the supposed psychological insights (for example, that bit about the “genie-soul” of a place when they arrive in Chicago.) Personally, such things did not move me at all; they just bored me.

I tried reading it about 30 years ago, because the cover blurb compared it to CATCHER IN THE RYE. Moviegoer, I read Catcher in the Rye, and I loved Catcher in the Rye and, Moviegoer, let me tell you, you’re no Catcher in the Rye.