In honor of the occasion, I have a post at Notre Dame Magazine’s new site that tries to explain why I’ve been reading the same novel over and over for a couple decades now.
It’s weird the way readers can sometimes feel so proprietary and protective of the novels they love. Ever had the experience of recommending your favorite book to a good friend and being disappointed when they don’t love it quite as wildly as you hoped? On the other hand, it’s also strange when every once in a while I meet another fan of The Moviegoer. Yes, it’s nice to connect with another like-mind, to know that there are other members of the club out there. But there’s also a little undercurrent of rivalry, too, as if we're in competition to see who has a firmer claim of ownership on the book.
Anyway, here's a little of The Moviegoer, including my all-time favorite literary description of a gas station:
I awake with a start at three o'clock, put on a raincoat and go outside for a breath of air. The squall line has passed over. Elysian Fields is dripping and still, but there is a commotion of winds high in the air where the cool heavy front has shouldered up the last of the fretful ocean air. The wind veers around to the north and blows away the storm until the moon swims high, moored like a kite and darting against the fleeting shreds and ragtags of cloud. . . Across the boulevard, at the catercorner of Elysian Fields and Bons Enfants, is a vacant lot chest high in last summer's weeds. Some weeks ago, the idea came to me of buying the lot and building a service station. It is for sale, I learned, for twenty thousand dollars. What with the windfall from Mr. Sartalamaccia, it becomes possible to think seriously of the notion. It is easy to visualize the little tile cube of a building with far flung porches, its apron of silky concrete and, revolving on high, the immaculate bivalve glowing in every inch of its pretty sytrene. (I have already approached the Shell distributor.)