Walker Percy: The Moviegoer (1960)
Reread this one after 10 years, to see whether if I could understand better what the fuzz is about (The Moviegoer is regularly held up as a major event in American novel-writing.) The protagonist , Binx Bolling, lives a comfortable if nondescript life as a small-time stockbroker in New Orleans, going to movies and hitting on his secretaries. During most of the book goes on a "search", essentially trying to figure out what to do with himself. In the background lurks a changing society and traumatic experiences from Korea. Whether he succeeds or not is not clear by the end of the book, since the most dramatic thing happening is that he takes the train to Chicago from New Orleans and eventually figures out what to do (and whom to do it with).
I don’t know. Somehow I have read this before, be it with Crime and punishment, Age of Reason, Hunger, or even Catcher in the Rye. The main distinction is that Binx Bolling is relatively well off and competent in what he does, even if most of his family and friends do not think much of it. The overwhelming theme of the book is Bolling trying to come to term with whether this comfortable life is all there is. Perhaps the book signaled the start of a more rebellious 1960s (it is comparatively racy for that time) but I think its time, unfortunately, has passed.
Or maybe I am just missing something. Is this really all?