Rod Dreher

Others in his melancholic family had done so. Nearing the 20th anniversary of Percy’s death by natural causes, Russell Moore ponders why the novelist escaped. Excerpt:

Others have sought to argue that the difference for Walker Percy was medical or sociological or even historical (he didn’t bear as directly the regional loss of honor that came with the South’s defeat in the Civil War or the global loss of innocence that came with World War I). These probably all–in God’s providence–played a role, but more significant, I think, is Percy’s Christian appropriation of the interplay between life and death, hope and despair.
“Death makes honest men of all of us,” says a character in one of Percy’s novels. “It makes people happy to tell the truth after a lifetime of lying.”
Perhaps it was Percy’s lifetime exposure to death–as a childhood victim of suicide and as a doctor trained to serve bodies in progressive bondage to decay–that enabled the writer to speak honestly about the cultural and spiritual suicide all around us.

(H/T: Doug LeBlanc)

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus