Saturday, February 13, 2010

Blogging The Moviegoer: Saturday

One of the things I’d only noticed after I’d read The Moviegoer a few times is how little sleep Binx gets. He must be one of the great insomniacs in American fiction. He has another restless night at the Smith’s fishing camp on Saturday, after he spirits his secretary Sharon away from the office for a trip to the beach: “Three o’clock and suddenly awake amid the smell of dreams and of the years come back and peopled and blown away again like smoke.” That’s a little too elegiac for me, but before long Binx gets back, literally, to earth. “I roll over and fall in a heap on the floor and lie shivering on the boards, worse off than the miserablest muskrat in the swamp.” I like that not-quite-eloquent “miserablest.”

In fact, I like all the earthiness of Binx’s Saturday: the way he turns his car accident to good use in his seduction of Sharon; the beer and crabs under a naked light bulb at the Smith’s; their pine-country screening of Fort Dobbs at the Moonlite Drive-In. It’s all a welcome relief from the Garden District lunches and the musing talks about life and the universe, and Aunt Emily's stoicism. As much as I love Binx’s search and his private Kierkegaardian vocabulary (repetitions and rotations and everydayness), his basic greed and concupiscence is crucial, too. One side of his character earns the other. “I think of Sharon and American Motors,” he tells us. “It closed yesterday at 30 1/4.”

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