Saturday, November 11, 2006

Kevin Guilfoile on Walker Percy

When I was working with Kevin Guilfoile on the Page 69 item for his novel Cast of Shadows, he noticed from the blog that I am an admirer of Walker Percy's work.

But my respect for Percy's fiction is nothing compared with Kevin's. He wrote:
The Moviegoer is probably my favorite book and Percy certainly my favorite author. My Dr. Moore, in fact, is an homage to Dr. Tom More of Love in the Ruins and The Thanatos Syndrome. Percy's books are a model for me in that each of the later ones especially seemed to be a genre novel on the surface--a thriller (Thanatos), a southern gothic romance (Lancelot), an Updike-ean exploration of mid-life in the suburbs (The Second Coming), a dystopian sci-fi satire (Ruins). I love these high-concept conceits that pull you inside, and once you're under, you find a novel so thick with ideas it's almost Russian. I don't pretend to be in Percy's league, but his books are a template for the kinds of entertaining, existential stories I want to tell.

I have to admit that when my agent called with the offer, my first reaction was, "Holy crap, I'm a novelist!" followed seconds later by "Holy crap, Knopf published The Moviegoer!"
I love it.

Richard Ford is also among the ranks of writers influenced by Walker Percy.

--Marshal Zeringue