Walker Percy won the National Book Award for The Moviegoer originally published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1961. It concerns a young New Orleanian at existential loose ends who finds solace in going to the movies. Percy subsequently published five more novels, none as polished or successful in sustaining a mood as the first.
For more than fifty years Stanley Kaufmann reviewed movies for The New Republic. I remembered him as the critic who never saw a movie he liked, at least none he reviewed. I was surprised to learn recently that Kaufmann, then employed as an editor at Knopf—the man who never saw a movie he liked—had discovered and edited The Moviegoer.
Percy’s later novel all were published by Farrar Strauss rather than Knopf. It seems as if Percy’s connection with Kaufmann was broken. More’s the pity.