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Highly regarded but not for me.
on 28 April 2014
This novel, acclaimed at its publication and clearly relished by discerning modern readers, leaves me with a dilemma. All the qualities for which it has been showered with praise: wit, insight, intelligence etc. had little impact on this reader. The lyricism and romance escaped me. Rather, I found an especially unlikeable central character in Binx Bolling, supercilious and shallow, moving in a world bereft of warmth and sincere feeling. The parallel with John Updike in one review seems to me strange. In the Rabbit and Bech novels Updike achieves energy and depth of understanding, as well as so much more authentic feeling, all of which reaches far beyond anything on offer here. This may, perhaps, explain why Percy has made so little impact on this side of the Atlantic in comparison with the finest of his contemporaries.