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Extended Audio Sample The Last Gentleman, by Walker Percy Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,073 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Walker Percy Narrator: Wolfram Kandinsky Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Williston Bibb Barrett is a rather unusual and inquisitive young Southerner with a special gift for cultivating the possibilities of life. He suffers from occasional bouts of amnesia and disconcerting attacks of déjà vu. He clings to certain old-fashioned notions of behavior, and yet he finds himself constantly impelled to eavesdrop on other people’s conversations. And he lives with the secret suspicion that the great world catastrophe that everyone fears will happen has already happened.

The novel follows Will Barrett’s adventures as he becomes involved in the complex troubles, loves, and fortunes of a Southern family, the Vaughts, that is living in the shadow of their youngest son’s illness. With settings ranging from New York to Alabama, Louisiana to New Mexico, this is an ambitious, funny, compulsively readable novel about the dilemmas of modern man.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Splendid…A beautifully textured novel…A distinguished work of art.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Breaks your heart in the midst of laughter.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • “Nothing I can say about this novel will convey the sense of constant delight that it provides, a rich essence that is always right…It is art—and more vivid and alive and meaningful than our own living…tender-funny and full of references to things we were certain no one else had ever noticed.”

    Houston Post

  • “Brilliant…It shimmers with the chaste and civilized ornaments of irony, understatement, and compassion.”


  • “Lovely and brilliant…A highly whimsical kind of picaresque tale that puts one in mind of both Faulkner and Canneau.”

    Joyce Carol Oates, Nation

  • “Kandinsky’s narration employs a steady and sardonic voicing, appropriate to the prose.”


  • “Kandinsky’s presentation…brings the words sharply in focus…His characterizations are engaging and distinct. Unhurriedly and conscientiously, Kandinsky gives depth to this amusing, yet difficult, search for fulfillment in the baffling world.”


Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jo Ann Hall | 2/20/2014

    " Walker Percy creates the insider's sense of what it is like to be a Southerner, but more importantly, what it means to be a sensitive soul destined to be an observer only, if he cannot find the means to disconnect from the observer position and move into one in which he lives his life. Themes present in The Moviegoer are explored and enhanced here. The Last Gentleman is funny, poignant, and hopeful, even though the characters don't always inspire our sympathy. I read this slowly, savoring the dreamy language and ideas which often pulled me up short because I had thought them myself. Deja vu, indeed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Elizabeth L. | 2/16/2014

    " "New York is full of people from small towns who are quite content to live obscure lives in some out-of-the-way corner of the city. Here there is no one to keep track." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Chris Gager | 2/8/2014

    " I'm sure there's stuff going on in WP's books that I don't get but I love them anyway. This was my first and I've read all of them twice except for the last two. Will shows up again years later in "The Second Coming". Will is pretty much confused and "fugued" out by life. Favorite part: Will is traveling across Mississippi and comes to Oxford while the James Meredith integrating was taking place. As he's crossing the town at night with rioter's fires blazing in the streets he's confronted by a running wild-faced young man who screams at him "He's here!" and runs off. Date read is approximate for the second read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Stewart | 2/2/2014

    " I hadn't read Percy in several years and had almost forgotten what a good stylist he is. The story - a Southerner adrift in New York who gets caught up in the complicated lives of a dying contemporary and his eccentric family - takes a while to get going, then drags a bit when they get back down South. But it regains its momentum about two-thirds of the way through. There's a little too much philosophizing, and traces of the unintelligible Faulkner, but Percy never loses control of the story. "

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