Download The Second Coming Audiobook

The Second Coming Audiobook, by Walker Percy Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Walker Percy Narrator: David HIlder Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2012 ISBN: 9781483072968
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,038 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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Will Barrett of Linwood, North Carolina, is a depressed widower with a peculiar tendency to fall down in strange places. Allison, the girl in the greenhouse, has just escaped from a mental institution and is working hard to make a new life for herself. When their paths cross in a most unusual manner, a relationship begins that will help restore two struggling outcasts to new life.

What follows is by turns touching and zany, tragic and comic, as Will undertakes his own Pascalian wager in search of proof of the existence of God. Leaving his comfortable home atop a pleasant Carolina mountain and descending deep into the bowels of the long-unused Lost Cove cave, he is prepared to wait for a sign—which may, of course, be death. What he is not prepared for is what actually happens.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Splendid…A beautifully textured novel…A distinguished work of art…Walker Percy’s perception luminously lights up obscure depths of experience without at the same time explaining that experience away.”

    New York Times Book Review 

  • “Percy has a rare talent for making his people look and sound as though they were being seen and heard for the first time by anyone.”


  • “He is a beguiling, uniquely gifted novelist who deserves to be read in order and in full.”


  • “What a pleasure…His best book since The Moviegoer…and among the most admirable American novels of the past few years.”

    New Republic

  • Winner of the 1980 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction
  • A New York Times bestseller
  • A 1980 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
  • A 1981 National Book Award Finalist
  • A 1981 PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist

Listener Reviews

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  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Zina | 2/20/2014

    " A very straightforward novel: no tricks here, which I guess can be refreshing. I thought the woman character, Allison, was especially well developed. The narration gets inside the heads of the two protagonists (Allison and Will) a lot, which makes you understand how some of the stuff that looks sketchy from the outside is actually fine (I know that's vague, but I don't want to give anything away). That made me uneasy, knowing that if I were actually interacting with these characters and not hearing their internal monologues, I would think very differently of them, in particular about their mental health and ability to function autonomously. I found the book troubling in that sense: it raised some difficult questions about identifying mental illness and deciding to pursue involuntary commitment. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah | 2/13/2014

    " This is a story of mental dis-equilibrium. Both hero and heroine are struggling with the tricks their minds are playing on them. I think Percy's point may be that our flaws and brokeness can actually be the place of our greatest strength as it forces us to yoke with others. Good point; however Percy's answer to this seemed to me to be weirdly sexualized and read more like a mid-life crisis (or, given his age when he wrote it, the recollection of a mid-life-crisis) than a fitting together of two broken lives into a whole. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 doug | 1/12/2014

    " Okay--my first Walker Percy Novel. What have I been waiting for? Perhaps to reach a certain age? I read this on the days surrounding my 40th birthday, and as we use these milestones to assess our paths, the novel was a good fit. Well crafted, nicely internal, although it felt like it could be a bit tighter, and I'm still working through what felt like a shift toward a more dramatic presentation toward the end. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Allison | 1/7/2014

    " I remember hating it. I was young. I was named Allison and I was annoyed that the girl named Allison was mentally handicapped. But I wanted to read a Walker Percy book so I gave it the whole thing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Valerie | 1/7/2014

    " It took me two hundred pages to get into tho, but after that... it was good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 1/3/2014

    " I was disappointed. While I loved the characters (especially Allie's Allen Ginsberg way of speaking), and I thought the book raised good theological questions, I thought the delivery too stagnant and repetitive. Probably would've made a great short story, or perhaps a couple of short stories. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michael | 1/3/2014

    " Not sure what to make of the book. I wondered if the need to believe was at the center of the work. One must be mentally ill to believe therefore one chooses mental illness over sanity. Will Barret was a successful lawyer, lived a full life, retired early. But he is not all there. His seizures attached to his father's suicide and his attempt to overcome what is his birthmark. He accepts the possible illusion of a second coming at the end of the novel. I kept feeling that this was a sort New Age understanding. I was put off by the easy fairy tale answers, the acceptance of what might be some baby boomer growing older with the need to believe in something, some higher reality, like an AA's meetings "a higher being". An attempt to have spituality without religion. Or perhaps the novel is a satire showing the superfical answers that the babyboomers are seeking. I would like some input on these ideas. I would have liked more meat in this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan | 12/16/2013

    " Walker Percy is one of those authors I wish I had discovered earlier. His borderline crazy characters (aren't we all) are so lovingly drawn. Charming. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alex | 10/29/2013

    " Not as good at I thought it was going to be. Maybe past its prime. Existential meditations are not what they used to be. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matthias | 10/22/2013

    " my kind of southern writing, depression, alcoholism, a little bit of religion, and swampy intellectualism. Read everything you can get by Walker Percy "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Seana | 9/29/2013

    " Long time since I read this one, but he is one of my favorite writers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tim | 8/29/2013

    " A story of two bewildered souls coming together, looking for purpose, looking to understand the past and to make a future. Will Barrett and Allie are wonderful characters, many of the people surrounding them really did make my skin crawl. I will keep rereading Percy though, he is always worth it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marvin | 7/17/2013

    " This is another of those authors whose work I really should like, given my interests (& his), but this just doesn't work for me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Laura | 6/29/2013

    " Read this book twenty years ago, then 15 years ago. Am planning to read it again someday and see if my perspective has changed. I liked the is book more than The Moviegoer. Fascinating take on what's important. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jessica | 5/14/2013

    " One more Percy novel that I don't understand, but have the feeling that my parents would. Does anyone else get the feeling that he will not be read in 50 years after there are no more baby boomers to adore him? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 5/7/2013

    " WOW! Loved it - even better than The Moviegoer, in my opinion! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ashleigh | 2/8/2013

    " My favorite Walker Percy novel. Dana pointed out quite rightly that it has his only female protagonist who is a fully developed character. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Victoria | 12/25/2012

    " Oh man. So, he realizes that even though life is silly and pointless and stuff, just find a person you really like and buy a house and have two kids with them. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zach | 11/27/2012

    " I am still trying to wrap my head around this book, which is fascinating and dense and has a lot to say, good and bad, about the nature of belief and unbelief and things between. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 10/10/2012

    " read this sometime fairly soon after college and remember it as beautiful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Greg | 9/18/2012

    " This book made me a Walker Percy fan. "

About the Author

Walker Percy (1916–1990) was the author of nine books of fiction and nonfiction, including the award-winning The Moviegoer and the New York Times bestsellers The Thanatos Syndrome, Love in the Ruins, and The Second Coming . He is considered one of the greatest American writers of the twentieth century. He went to medical school, intending to be a psychiatrist, until he had a bout with tuberculosis. He married and converted to Catholicism. He became a writer, and his first novel, The Moviegoer, won the National Book Award and has never been out of print.

About the Narrator

David Hilder is a stage, film, and television actor. He has narrated unabridged audiobooks for over eighteen years and has recorded more than two hundred titles, spanning works of fiction and nonfiction.