National Book Award Finalist: A lonely Southerner forges a surprising bond with a New York family in this “brilliant” novel by the author of The Moviegoer (Time). Will Barrett has never felt at peace. After moving from his native South to New York City, Will’s most meaningful human connections come through the lens of a telescope in Central Park, from which he views the comings and goings of the eccentric Vaught family. But Will’s days as a spectator end when he meets the Vaught patriarch and accepts a job in the Mississippi Delta as caretaker for the family’s ailing son, Jamie. Once there, he is confronted not only by his personal demons, but also his growing love for Jamie’s sister, Kitty, and a deepening relationship with the Vaught family that will teach him the true meaning of home.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
To be or not to be? That’s the question virtuoso philosopher-novelist Walker Percy asks through his protagonist Will Barrett, a damaged, lonely, and charming expat from the Deep South. Despite his Ivy League education, Will works as a night janitor and lives at the Manhattan YMCA. He spends too much time in Central Park, pretending to bird-watch through a powerful telescope when he’s actually spying on people. It’s a nice metaphor for the fatal detachment of many modern men, but Percy makes sure his antihero’s surveillance sets him on a tortured path to love—and back down to the South, the original source of his pain. The Last Gentleman is an exhilarating and gut-wrenching meditation on how human connection requires us to be truly vulnerable.