The quote below, from The Moviegoer is among the most quietly visceral Every Man passages I’ve ever read. So accurate, so clinical, so very human. The protagonist, a young New Orleans investment counselor, is standing on the library steps talking to a woman friend he happened to run into.
“…To our utter amazement we discovered that we both have the same life-goal. Do you know what it is?” “No.” “To make a contribution, however small, and leave the world just a little better off.” “That’s very good,” I say somewhat uneasily and shift about on the library steps. I can talk to Nell as long as I don’t look at her. Looking into her eyes is an embarrassment. “—we gave the television to the kids and last night we turned on the hi-fi and sat by the fire and read The Prophet aloud. I don’t find life gloomy!” she cries. “To me, books and people and things are endlessly fascinating. Don’t you think so?” “Yes.” A rumble has commenced in my descending bowel, heralding a tremendous defecation. Nell goes on talking and there is nothing to do but shift around as best one can, take care not to fart, and watch her in a general sort of way: a forty-year-old woman with a good open American face and another forty years left in her; and eager, above all, eager, with that plaintive lost eagerness American college women get at a certain age.
Photo of Walker Percy is from encyclopediaofalabama.org