A pair of profound dystopian novels from the “brilliantly breathtaking” New York Times–bestselling and National Book Award–winning author of The Moviegoer (The New York Times Book Review).
Winner of the National Book Award for The Moviegoer, the “dazzlingly gifted” Southern philosophical author Walker Percy wrote two vividly imagined satirical novels of America’s future featuring deeply flawed psychiatrist and spiritual seeker Tom More (USA Today). Love in the Ruins is “a great adventure . . . so outrageous and so real, one is left speechless” (Chicago Sun-Times), and its sequel The Thanatos Syndrome “shimmers with intelligence and verve” (Newsday).
Love in the Ruins: The great experiment of the American dream has failed. The United States is on the brink of catastrophe. Can an alcoholic, womanizing, lapsed-Catholic psychiatrist really save a society speeding toward inevitable collapse? Dr. Thomas More certainly thinks so. He has invented the lapsometer, a machine capable of diagnosing and curing the country’s spiritual afflictions. If used correctly, the lapsometer could make anxiety, depression, alienation, and racism things of the past. But in the wrong hands, it could rapidly propel the nation into chaos.
“A comedy of love against a field of anarchy . . . Percy is easily one of the finest writers we have.” —The New York Times Book Review
The Thanatos Syndrome: In Percy’s “ingenious” sequel, Dr. Tom More, fresh out of prison after getting caught selling uppers to truck drivers, returns home to Louisiana, determined to live a simpler life (The New York Times). But when everyone in town starts acting strangely—from losing their sexual inhibitions to speaking only in blunt, truncated sentences—More, with help from his cousin, epidemiologist Lucy Lipscomb, takes it upon himself to investigate. Together, they uncover a government conspiracy poised to rob its citizens of their selves, their free will, and ultimately their humanity.
“The Thanatos Syndrome has the ambition and purposefulness to take on the world, to wrestle with its shortcomings, and to celebrate its glories.” —The Washington Post Book World
About the author
Walker Percy (1916–1990) was one of the most prominent American writers of the twentieth century. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, he was the oldest of three brothers in an established Southern family that contained both a Civil War hero and a U.S. senator. Acclaimed for his poetic style and moving depictions of the alienation of modern American culture, Percy was the bestselling author of six fiction titles—including the classic novel The Moviegoer (1961), winner of the National Book Award—and fifteen works of nonfiction. In 2005, Time magazinenamed The Moviegoer one of the best English-language books published since 1923.
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