I’ve just finished re-reading Walker Percy’s The Second Coming. Whew! what a knockout last page!
It’s the story of Will Barrett–an emotionally wounded, rich, late middle aged Wall Street lawyer who has retired to North Carolina. He has a mental breakdown after the death of his wife and is rescued by Allison, a loopy gal who escaped from the mental asylum herself.
Beneath the story is the struggle for faith and meaning, a contemplation on the madness of miserable Americans pretending to be happy, a meditation on wealth and emptiness, musing on sanity and insanity, faith and experience, forgiveness and being born again.
It’s a powerful and compelling novel, and one which bears reading and re-reading because Percy understands the complexity of human nature and communicates it with all the subtlety and skill that his own main character exhibits. The interwoven complexities of the person and his relationships are shown, not told and the reader is drawn into the emotional struggle through the outwardly dull, but inwardly tumultuous life of the hero.
Turn off the TV, tear yourself away from the computer and read this great book.
Geesh, I wish I could write a book like that!