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The Second Coming: A Novel af Walker Percy
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The Second Coming: A Novel (original 1980; udgave 1999)

af Walker Percy

Serier: Will Barrett (2)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,0261118,948 (3.98)11
Widower Will Barrett of Linwood, North Carolina, and Allison Vaught--two alienated souls both questioning their faith in God--together heal one another and return to a Christian community that rejects their methods of healing.
Medlem:happyfly
Titel:The Second Coming: A Novel
Forfattere:Walker Percy
Info:Picador (1999), Paperback, 368 pages
Samlinger:Læser for øjeblikket
Vurdering:****
Nøgleord:Ingen

Work Information

The Second Coming af Walker Percy (1980)

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Viser 1-5 af 11 (næste | vis alle)
My favorite Walker Percy novel. Been through it three times. It's deep, moving, funny, and short. Everything I need. I mostly loved the characters. Wanted to give both of them a big hug. ( )
  MickeyMole | Oct 2, 2023 |
The Second Coming is a deeply spiritual book, though not a religious one, and I believe its writer, Walker Percy, wrote it to draw exactly that distinction. I think Percy would have said that faith is essential, in fact innate, in humanity, but that we have buried our impulse to truly know and understand it so deep that we mostly founder, like a lost ship, throughout our lives.

His main character, Will Barrett, has everything material a man could want. He has had a satisfying marriage, although he has recently lost his wife, and he has a daughter that he barely understands, and whose idea of a connection to God is an over-zealous religiosity. He is, in fact, a man involved in a soul search. He is looking for God, for some proof of God, for some meaning in a world of evil and indifference, and a definition of moral purpose. He seems to recognize in his fellow Christians that there are more of those who “join” because being a Christian furthers their contacts or gets them into the right golf game, than those who actually embrace the presence of a higher power. There are a lot of church-goers but really very few Christians in Will Barrett's world. In fact, if these people are Christians, they would inspire in us all the hope to never be one.

What Will does to determine whether he should believe or not is devise a sort of challenge to God himself.

“my death, if it occurs, shall occur not by my own hand but by the hand of God. Or rather the handlessness or inaction of God.”

Even in this, I think the reader is allowed to choose. Does Will receive his answer? Does God speak? You really have to read the book and decide for yourself. What we tend to forget, as human beings, is that faith is by definition believing without proof. If you can see it, touch it, know it, no faith is required. Thomas needed to see the wounds in Christ’s body to believe in His resurrection. Thomas may have been a believer, but he lacked faith.

There is much that is cynical and depressing in this story. One could make a very good case for the two main characters being off their rockers. Different is not always worse, sometimes it is just different, and that is how I see Allie and Will, both of whom seem to have better perception than their sane but greedy families and friends. What I also loved about the book is that, while in the beginning there seems to be nothing but desperation, in the end, there is hope.

This is an eminently quotable book. I marked dozens of passages, including one that is a direct reference to Matthew Arnold’s poem [b:Dover Beach|19413202|Dover Beach|Matthew Arnold|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1386920640l/19413202._SX50_.jpg|53255806] (the second time in a week that that poem has been brought to my attention while reading another work. I do not believe in coincidence, so I have to call that serendipity.)

Percy is said to have a great deal in common with Flannery O’Conner, but it was Graham Greene who kept springing to my mind. Both Percy and Greene are Catholics struggling with their faith, and while they take different roads, I think they arrive at the same destination. I am now anxious to go back in time and read Percy’s earlier work about Will Barrett, [b:The Last Gentleman|84903|The Last Gentleman|Walker Percy|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1312014658l/84903._SY75_.jpg|2403417].



( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
What is wrong with Will Barrett? He is depressed and his golf game is off kilter. He has a sort of falling down sickness and that theme pervades this tale of revelation and change in the life of this widower who has become a somewhat different person than the young seeker whose story was told in The Last Gentleman.

In this, his fifth novel, Walker Percy once again surveys the themes of alienation, from self and from God, and dissatisfaction with the commercialism of modern American life. This book, while filled with realistic details about life in North Carolina in the 1980s, is able to speak to twenty-first century readers with its existential approach to life's problems. Many of the people Will encounters, and there are some memorable side characters like a chaplain whose belief is somewhat doubtful, remind me of the mediocre Christians who provided fodder for the commentaries of thinkers like Kierkegaard. We find Percy asking the important question whether people may be missing their own lives while going through the motions like shopping or wasting away on the local golf course.

At the center of the novel Will has an epiphany of sort that leads him to a fall that becomes a catalyst for a new life - a new relationship both for him and for a young woman named Allison who has her own psychological baggage. It was somewhat ironic, however, that Will's fall was due in part to his hubristic demand that he would commit suicide if God did not reveal himself. And even more ironic was that this demand led Will closer to being present for his own life than ever before.

Best of all is the way that Percy packages the story - in two parts that fit together so well that this may be his best novelistic effort. It certainly rivals the brilliance of his premiere effort of The Moviegoer. As a reader I was thankful that he returned to Will Barrett and found a way to tell a story of second chances and new love wrapped in an elegant package. The existence of god in the life of Will Barrett is brought home in a more thorough way here than in The Last Gentleman. I found it a transformation made possible by a reasonable belief. ( )
  jwhenderson | Sep 21, 2021 |
"Shortly afterward, he became even more depressed. People seemed more farcical than ever. More than once he shook his head and, smiling ironically, said to himself: This is not for me."

There's an improbable romance in this featuring my least favorite stock character, ie, the zany girl that changes your life and teaches you to love again, but I like this book so much I'll let it pass. ( )
  uncleflannery | May 16, 2020 |
lah. I couldn't do more than skim this. It rambled on about golf, how rich the main character was and the exact model of his mercedes. It had been recommended as a good existential novel - lies!
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
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Widower Will Barrett of Linwood, North Carolina, and Allison Vaught--two alienated souls both questioning their faith in God--together heal one another and return to a Christian community that rejects their methods of healing.

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