audrey_e (audrey_e) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

15: Lancelot

Originally posted by audrey_e at Book 15: Lancelot
15 LANCELOT Walker Percy (USA, 1977)


From a mental institution, Lancelot Lamar tells the story of his downfall following the discovery of his wife infidelities.

Lancelot is an extremely ambitious novel; too ambitious for its own good. Percy attempts to tell the story of a (failed?) quest for truth in the media age, and from the perspective of someone who has lost faith in humanity. And to compare and contrast Lancelot's downfall to the traditional quest, Percy uses The Knights of the Round Table's names and imagery with as much irony as he can.
The result is unfortunately very clumsy. The theme of the Arthurian quest does not further the main protagonist/ Percy's arguments at all. I was often confused as to how the quest pertained to Lancelot's modern experience.
The novel's format was also flawed. Lancelot addresses himself directly to a friend/the reader, which causes the story line to be unnecessarily repetitive, (as opposed to insightful repetitions).
Considering that Percy's masterpiece The Moviegoer explores the very same themes, and is easily one of the best books I've ever read, I cannot recommend Lancelot to someone  who's not already familiar with the writer. As for me, I still enjoyed Percy's writing and the bubble of depressing emptiness it creates in your mind, but it was not enough to really save the book.

Tags: mental health, modern lit

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