Walker Percy Remembered: A Portrait in the Words of Those Who Knew Him

Synopsis

Walker Percy (1916-1990), the reclusive southern author most famous for his 1961 novel The Moviegoer, lived most of his adult life in Covington, Louisiana. In the spirit of traditional southern storytelling, this biography of Percy takes its shape from candid interviews with his family, close friends, and acquaintances. Their voices sometimes in agreement, sometimes not reveal the ways Percy interacted with the people in his very deliberately chosen environment.

In thirteen interviews, we get to know Percy through his lifelong friend Shelby Foote, his brothers LeRoy and Phin Percy, his former priest, his housekeeper, and former teachers, among others, all in their own words. Over the course of the interviews, readers learn intimate details of Percy's writing process; his interaction with community members of different ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds; and his commitment to civil rights issues. Presenting Percy from a variety of vantage points, David Harwell provides new material to help us better understand Percy's existential questionings and offers a more comprehensive treatment of the writer's character than traditional biographies provide. What emerges is a multidimensional portrait of Percy as a man, a friend, and a family member.