The Thanatos Syndrome by Walker Percy
A Novel

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Percy fans will find it very agreeable, despite the thinness.


Percy’s stirring sequel to Love in the Ruins follows Tom More’s redemptive mission to cure the mysterious ailment afflicting the residents of his hometownDr. Tom More returns to his parish in Louisiana determined to live a simpler life. Fresh out of prison after getting caught selling uppers to truck drivers, he wants nothing more than to live “a small life.” But when everyone in town begins acting strangely—from losing their sexual inhibitions to speaking only in blunt, truncated sentences—More, with help from his cousin Lucy Lipscomb, takes it upon himself to reveal what and who is responsible. Their investigation leads them to the highest seats of power, where they discover that a government conspiracy is poised to rob its citizens of their selves, their free will, and ultimately their humanity.

About Walker Percy

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Walker Percy, born in Alabama, raised in Mississippi, and a former resident of Louisiana, was a member of a prominent Southern family who lost his parents at an early age and grew up as the foster son of his father's cousin. Percy graduated from the University of North Carolina and received his M.D. from Columbia, but was a nonpracticing physician who devoted much of his life to his writing. Percy's witty and provocative first novel, The Moviegoer (1961), won the 1962 National Book Award, but Charles Poore considers The Last Gentleman (1966) "an even better book." Love in the Ruins (1971) marks a sharp change in method and subject from the first two novels. A doomsday story set "at the end of the Auto Age," it exposes many foibles and abuses in contemporary life through sharp satire and extravagant fantasy. Whereas Love in the Ruins is funny, Percy's next novel, Lancelot (1977) is the rather bleak and pessimistic story of a deranged man who blows up his home when he finds proof of his wife's infidelities and then tells his story in an asylum for the mentally disturbed. Its apocalyptic vision is expressed in a more positive and affirmative way in The Second Coming (1980), which takes its title from the fact that it resurrects the character of Will Barret from The Last Gentleman and locates him, a quarter-century older, finding love and meaning in a cave.
Published March 29, 2011 by Open Road Media. 384 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Horror, Action & Adventure, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Political & Social Sciences. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Thanatos Syndrome
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1


on Apr 05 2012

Percy fans will find it very agreeable, despite the thinness.

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on Apr 13 1987

The novel has a lot of racing around, beautiful atmosphere (you can smell the river, taste the chicory) and some funny, tender scenes.

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Gather Books

Above average
on Feb 19 2009

While I ultimately didn't find reading this book to be satisfying, Percy's overall style was enough to make me want to see more of his work.

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