Let me preface this by saying that I'm quite sure that nothing in this review will come close to equalling the great one Jeffrey Keeten did, which I am purposely not rereading until after I write this, as it will intimidate the heck out of me.
large part of that is that I'm still digesting the book, still unsure
what it means to me, to others. There is that dissociated drift of the
main character still meandering around my head, and I'm not sure if it
will ever come to roost. Which is one of Binx Bolling's worries -
becoming detached, just Anyone Anywhere, on Any Street. He worries about
it so much that the movies are his method of anchoring himself to a
time and a place - and the irony of using mass-produced media to make
sure you are Someone Particular Somewhere is strong.
through his life after returning from his experiences at war. He makes
money, he visits his family, he disappoints his aunt and confuses his
mother, he sleeps with his secretaries, and he goes to the movies. He
worries about being just one in a crowd - not being just like everyone
else, but losing himself so much that he is just one of a faceless
thousand. It isn't just that he could be lost to a casual observer, it's
that he could be lost to himself.
Binx is intelligent, he seems
not without appeal to those who know them, and yet there is always that
sense of unreality between him and those around him. Only his cousin,
who struggles with her own problems of being in the world, seems to
understand. Or does she? Does he?
In some ways, this felt like an American version of The Stranger. But I liked it better. I still feel like The Stranger
went over my head, and Binx, while detached from society and its
expectations, gave me more to latch onto. Although I still wanted to
shake him at times.
The Moviegoer is a hypnotic look at
post-war ennui, at detachment, at living in cities, of the search and
retreat of one man who is always worried about being swept away from