Book Review: Walker Percy’s Love In the Ruins

A thoughtful review of a book I read at least 40 years ago. Parts of this book have stayed with me and have served as a valuable corrective against my attraction, as an Episcopalian, to the gnostic heresy.

Truth and Tolerance

Panini_Giovanni-ZZZ-St_Sibyls_Sermon_in_Roman_Ruins_with_the_Statue_of_Apollo

Love in the Ruins, an apocalyptic comedy, was published in 1971 and takes place in what then would have been the “near future” of the early 1990’s. The place is Louisiana. The good old USA finds itself in a state of decline as liberals fight it out with conservatives, black guerrillas fight against whites, hippies living in the swamps commit atrocities against townfolk, and entire cities and vast suburban developments sit abandoned as the population crowds into small towns and gated communities.

Conservatives suffer from bouts of paranoia, rage, and indigestion, while liberals suffer from sexual impotence, sexual deviancy, and fits of abstraction. Both are capable of preforming shocking acts of violence: conservatives imagining they are threatened, liberals imagining that their good intentions justify all their deeds. But most people do not notice anything unusual about their situation: they manage to get by in their gated communities, dismiss horrific…

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