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In times like these when everyone is wonderful, what is needed is a quest for evil.You should be interested Such a quest serves God s cause How Because the Good proves nothing When everyone is wonderful, nobody bothers with God If you had ten thousand Albert Schweitzers giving their lives for their fellow men, do you think anyone would have a second thought about GodWalker Percy, Lancelot I find myself running to Walker Percy to explain to my why the modern world feels so f ed up He never provides a perfect salve, but it is nice that he recognizes some things in a similar way I m not sure why I am so drawn to bad Catholic writers, but they are kinda my thing Lancelot is not his best, but almost There are parts of this book I need to bounce off someone, so I ve thrown it over on my wife s side of the bed for her to read It is absurd, dark, funny, a moral hazard I love the way Percy writes, but also adore the things he is saying His big issue, I believe, in this book is how modern institutions technocrats and modern psychology not only enable often the worst in society, in the name of the good, but that other institutions the Church in this modern age are powerless often to prevent this attack on morality The Church is distracted, weak, and it is up to us as individuals to combat the moral decay That sound boring and I don t really do Percy justice The hero, Lance, is a discredited psychiatrist now living at a nuthouse The structure of the novel allows Lance to describe the story slowly unwinds his past actions the central of the novel plot to his old friend a screwed up priest or half assed physician named Percival.Percy s novels are basically one giant rant against the modern age and some of the problems that come with its decadence While I don t always agree with Percy, his novels seem to resonate hard with me Like some literary tuning fork, there is a part of me that seems to resonate emotionally intellectually spiritually with some Percy s arguments His novels are often a bit messy, but also seem alive in their mess There is always something with Percy that I don t quite like, something that doesn t quite square Still he tends to impale me with hooks than most other novels I walk away from his novels dragging many of his visions, his phantasms, his warnings with me. Less of a novel, and of a jeremiad, and a jeremiad true now, 35 years after Percy penned it, than it was originally While its main thrust is the problematics of a culture whose sine qua non is pleasure, it is also a fascinating investigation of how we create identities for others and how we, in turn, willingly and cheerfully embrace those identities created for us as a part of our obsession with the various forms of pleasure , with how history functions in our lives, with how we misuse and misinterpret history, using it to insulate ourselves from reality, and how we should use history quite differently to see the sickness of all times, and to diagnose the sickness of the present, and to learn how to cut out the cancerous perversions and sinfulness of the present.Percy gives us something very unpleasant to think about, and he does it in a way that is devoid of his normal optimism, humor, and wonder at the beauty of life What we have is a recitation of evil properly and appropriately, then, the book is stomach churning and gasp inducing, uninterested in defending or showing as good and right any of our modern liberal platitudes or niceties A book that most will either find a cri de couer, or abhorrent reactionary garbage, and not much in between No matter which camp the reader finds him or herself falling into, there is no way to not find the book compelling, challenging, and a place to begin to do substantial cultural criticism. What a waste it is to lose one s mind, or not to have a mind How true that is. U.S V Pres Dan Quayle, in May 1989 speech to United Negro College Fund whose motto is, a mind is a terrible thing to waste A first person narrative told through monologues and recollections of a despondent attorney who has been committed to a mental institution for murdering his infidel wife shortly after learning that another man sired his youngest daughter This Lancelot says he s on an Arthurian quest to unveil, not the Holy Grail, but the truth of the moral vacuity and decadence of American society in the 1970s Here s a sample of his views on the better half of the human race Of the 3 million species on Earth, the human female is the only one capable of living in a state of constant estrus the only creature on Earth in perpetual heat good for only one thing eye to eye, face to face, belly to belly, breast to breast, day in and day out, in heat the year round There is the omega point of evolution I was intrigued at times, but often got lost in his diatribes. Understated yet altogether profound Lancelot s story is retold entirely within his disturbed mind from a single room in an institution with but one window through which he can glimpse a fragment of his past life The writing is absolutely beautiful and not the least pretentious The retelling of his past will make you feel uneasy but oddly will make you laugh along the way Confronts racial issues marked by the era with uncanny deliberateness and marital familial strife as the main character directly experienced it He s crazy and, while you ll get a sense of this, Percy undoubtedly maintains an elusive and enigmatic quality It is a story of the past told from the beginning chronologically, leaving you in anticipation and yearning for information But when the story is finally told you have a satisfying and complete picture He conveys Lancelot s character in an implicit manner and elucidates truths to his identity that perhaps the complex man isn t even able or willing to admit Beautifully, it is through his tragedy that his numbness to the world is finally alleviated, but with the caveat that another altogether separate conflict is born within himself. The structure of this novel reminds me of the movie Amadeus There s no one here analogous to Mozart, but nevertheless a crime has been committed, and like Salieri in the film the man who felt driven to do it is now sorting out the meaning of it all while addressing a silent priest like figure.As such, this becomes a meditation on good and evil, on what matters and what does not, and it covers material that Percy handles in his other novels Essentially, a character awakens to find himself in degenerate circumstances and considers the choices before him.I m trying to read all his books again, roughly 30 years after the first pass, in order to get them straight in my mind and understand their common ground This one feels explicit in that, amid much ranting You say we are redeemed Look out there Does it look like we are redeemed , the narrator lays out the existential problem in so many wordsThe past, any past, is intolerable, not because it is violent or terrible or doomstruck or any such thing, but just because it is so goddamn banal and feckless and useless As you get older you begin to realize the trick time is playing, and that unless you do something about it, the passage of time is nothing but the encroachment of the horrible banality of the past on the pure future This realization leads to the resolve to make a new life, an absolutely new beginning But I know that one must start from scratch In this case, Lancelot, the main character awakens from a long interval of almost semi consciousness to find that everything he valued is no longer his The event that wakes him up, in fact, is noticing that his daughter s blood type means that even she is not his biologically, at least Intrigued than outraged, he begins paying attention and discovers that his wife is in a love triangle in which he does not even figure.The narrator s name is no accident He sees himself as a modern day Sir Lancelot, and he s telling this story to an old friend whom he associates with Percival In the Arthurian legend, Lancelot and Percival were the only knights to see the Holy Grail, and in so doing awakened a blighted land to new life In this book, Lancelot s discovery brought him face to face with an UN holy grail, and yet as he ponders it now, there was nothing great or momentous about it at all The far greater affliction is that, in a society with no values Lancelot s home had been taken over by a Hollywood film crew who justified their utterly trashy production with double talk, while neighbors imagined that the mere proximity of such beings added significance to their own lives , evil is no longer even acknowledged. Read this one for Sawyers Book Club on myspace, and becuase it is on the Lost Lit List.I like the format narrator speaks to reader as tho they are part of the story one sided conversation I did not like all the lost trains of thought The narrator would lead you towards an answer, or explanation and then veer off for pages and pages, almost seeming to have lost his orginal point I did not like the ending at all Perhaps my copy is missing the last few pages sadly, i know this is not the case. First a note of caution this book is very explicit in its language and subject matter and may understandably be too much for some in that regard Coming on the heels of Love in The Ruins this book approaches similar issues from a completely different angle The plot unfolds quietly and ominously, all the while exploring how the protagonists inability to find meaning in the ordinary occurrences of life leads to a quest to find meaning in negation Lancelot is disgusted by the tawdriness of tepid sin that, while low and vile, hardly deserves the name For him it is by passing through, participating in and embracing real and pure evil that some sort of meaning might be found It is only in the final pages of the book when Percival the psychologist priest and Lancelot s old friend decides to embrace his priestly calling that the possibility of a different source of meaning is presented Percival who has listened silently to the story of Lancelot s quest for meaning in evil is, in the last lines of the book, asked if he has anything to say He responds Yes and with this the book ends Percival s Yes, which I take to be the gospel, is left as at least a possible alternative to Lancelot s search to find life in negation and death This leads naturally to Percy s next novel, The Second Coming, which I plan to re read immediately. I loved this book Percy continues diagnosing the modern malaise here through the eyes of a man that snapped out of his malaise through a single event The man, now institutionalized, recounts the events of that lead to where he is, as he also rants and raves about the status of his life before and what the future holds There are points where Percy s own views come through the speaker in the story, but there are also points where the speaker just raves lunacy the break between Percy s own views and the speaker s is clear because percy is catholic and the speaker is somewhat hostile to relgion and faith The story is often tense, and the narrative structure is unique. {DOWNLOAD E-PUB} ¾ Lancelot õ Lancelot Lamar Is A Disenchanted Lawyer Who Finds Himself Confined In A Mental Asylum With Memories That Don T Seem Worth Remembering It All Began The Day He Accidentally Discovered He Was Not The Father Of His Youngest Daughter, A Discovery Which Sent Lancelot On Modern Quest To Reverse The Degeneration Of America Percy S Novel Reveals A Shining Knight For The Modern Age A Knight Not Of Romance, But Of Revenge De centering and dyspeptic, this Percy bit gets at the heart of the nihilism that has seduced some quarters of contemporary thought The chivalric instincts of a would be Knight of Faith is tossed into the mix of seventies soft porn manners.mannners cultivated and then subverted by all that Southern stuff.