Walker Percy was an excellent literary artist and a remarkable man. In his fiction he was keen and witty, and in his social criticism and satire he was brilliantly perceptive. As a man he was genial, gracious, a wonderful conversationalist, and apparently cheerfully comfortable in a world in which he was quite at home. Yet the great theme of his fiction was man's alienation from the familiar world of here and now in which we pass our daily lives.

He insisted, in essays and interviews, that he was not writing the "Southern Novel" and that he had not the slightest intention of imitating William Faulkner. Yet he greatly admired Faulkner—and we may add, for he himself added them, Eudora Welty, John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, R. P. Warren, Flannery O'Connor, and other Southern writers of our century. As for being Southern himself, I can't think of anyone who knew the South better or who could more precisely set forth the people,...

 

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