Walker Percy

In Gratitude Walker Percy Center for Writing and Publishing

Maple Street Book Shop wants to do everything in its power to keep Walker Percy’s ideas alive. We feel, now more than ever, that the world needs Walker Percy.

In Gratitude back to top

Walker Percy was especially kind to the Maple Street Book Shop. Years ago, when he was teaching a course at Loyola, he started dropping by to sign books for us. He also let us give several autograph parties for him, even though, as we discovered later, they were a source of intense discomfort to him, as he hated forgetting people’s names and perhaps hurting their feelings.

Rhoda and Walker

When he couldn’t handle signing parties anymore, he was agreeable to our sending out flyers announcing the publication of a new book. We would drive over to Covington with a car full of boxes of his new book for him to sign and inscribe.

Customer response invariably yielded great piles of sometimes weird and intricate requests for special inscriptions. He would always try to accommodate and would only sometimes pass judgement in the form of a sad smile when confronted with instructions on a form to inscribe something like, “To a budding fellow writer who treads the same path and makes the same search . . . “ or “To a bourbon-lover extraordinaire—You love not wisely but too well . . . don’t blow your cool.” Once in a while, he’d look up with a slight grimace and say, “Do I know this guy?”

He also helped Maple Street Book Shop’s publishing arm, Faust Publishing Company, to come into existence by offering a speech of his, “Diagnosing the Modern Malaise,” to be its first publication, and later, two other pieces of his work.

After Walker Percy’s death, many of our customers expressed their sympathy for our loss. We really appreciated that, and we want to thank them. Many also voiced their own great sorrow. Some of the people who were most saddened did not even know him personally, but they had read his books and felt, and we understand why, that he knew them.

As a writer, his greatest gift was getting right to the heart of the matter, putting his finger right on the crucial spot. The dry humor with which he did this made his books startlingly funny, while at the same time, breathtakingly important. With regard to his faith in God and Catholicism, it was his intelligent soft-handedness that won him respect from non-believers as well as believers.

We have lost a great friend, and we remember him gratefully.

Walker Percy Book Lists:
We have developed these lists to ensure that we keep in stock all of Walker Percy’s books and all books about him and his work that are still in print.

Books by Walker Percy:
The Moviegoer (1961, available in hardcover by Knopf, $26.95, and paperback by Vintage, $12.95).
First published in 1961, Walker Percy’s first published novel has become a classic. Binx Bolling is unsettled, occupying himself by going to the movies. But on Mardi Gras, he finds himself on a quest. Winner of the National Book Award.

The Last Gentleman (1966, available in paperback by Picador, $15.00).
Will Barrett is the last gentleman, a wanderer with no plans for the future—until he suddenly falls in love.

Love in the Ruins (1971, available in paperback by Picador, $15.00).
A doctor embarks on a mission to cure mankind’s spiritual malaise and begins to learn the value of life and its susceptibility to ruin.

The Message in the Bottle: How Queer Man Is, How Queer Language Is, And What One Has to Do with the Other (1975, available in paperback by Picador, $14.00).
Why are modern people unhappy and ill at ease in the world? Walker Percy confronts this and other basic human questions, while offering insights into the way language possesses us.

Lancelot (1977, a limited number of hardcovers available by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27.95, and available in paperback by Picador, $ 14.00).
A man finds himself confined in a mental asylum with memories not worth remembering. An old friend visits, and Lancelot recounts his descent into violence, which started the day he discovered that his youngest daughter was not his child.

The Second Coming (1980, available in paperback by Picador, $ 15.00).
The main character from The Last Gentleman returns in this novel, suffering from depression. When he meets Allison, who’s escaping from a mental hospital, he begins a search for proof of God and finds much more.

Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book (1983, available in paperback by Picador, $14.00). Walker Percy’s take on the self-help movement. It invites us to think about what the self really is and how we live in the world.

The Thanatos Syndrome (1987, a limited number of hardcovers available by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27.95, and available in paperback by Picador, $15.00).
Walker Percy’s last novel revisits Dr. Tom More of Love in the Ruins. He returns home to a small Louisiana parish where he once practiced psychiatry. But he quickly notices something strange: the townsfolk have lost their inhibitions. Behind this mystery is a dangerous plot to drug the water supply.

“He is a dazzlingly gifted novelist.” —USA Today

Signposts in a Strange Land (1991, limited number of copies available in hardback by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27.95, and in paperback by Picador, $15.00). Edited and with an introduction by Patrick Samway.
Published after his death, this book contains Walker Percy’s previously uncollected non-fiction, including essays, talks, and memoirs, as well as a self-interview.
Walker Percy and Nancy Lemann

We also have copies of books signed by Walker Percy:

Diagnosing the Modern Malaise. Faust Publishing Co. 1985. First edition. Presentation copy (not numbered) of a limited edition of 250 numbered copies. Illustrated with a photograph of Walker Percy. Signed by Walker Percy. Fine without dust jacket, as issued. $350.00.

Diagnosing the Modern Malaise. Faust Publishing Co. 1985. First edition. One of a limited edition of 250 numbered copies. This copy is not numbered. Illustrated with a photograph of Walker Percy. Signed by Walker Percy. Fine without dust jacket, as issued. $400.00.

Diagnosing the Modern Malaise. Faust Publishing Co. 1985. First edition. One of a deluxe limited edition of 50 numbered copies. This copy is not numbered. Illustrated with a photograph of Walker Percy. Signed by Walker Percy. Fine without dust jacket, as issued. $600.00.

Novel Writing in an Apocalyptic Time. Afterword by Eudora Welty. Faust Publishing Co., New Orleans (1986). 30 pages
Illustrated with a Photograph of Walker Percy and a Photograph of Eudora Welty. One of a limited edition of 300 copies. As New. Signed by Walker Percy and Eudora Welty. $500.00. Deluxe Limited Edition of 100 Numbered Copies. As New. Signed by Walker Percy and Eudora Welty. $700.00.

Novel Writing in an Apocalyptic Time. Afterword by Eudora Welty. First edition. Faust Publishing Co. 1986. One of a deluxe limited edition of 100 numbered copies. Illustrated with a photograph of Walker Percy and a photograph of Eudora Welty. Signed by Walker Percy and Eudora Welty. Slight smudge on the cover, else fine without a dust jacket, as issued. $600.00.

The State of the Novel: Dying Art or New Science. Faust Publishing Co., New Orleans, 1988. 25 pages, Illustrated with a Photograph of Walker Percy. Signed, Limited Edition of 250 Numbered Copies. As New. $200.00. Deluxe Edition of 75 Numbered Copies, signed by Walker Percy. As New. $350.00.

The State of the Novel: Dying Art or New Science. Faust Publishing Co. 1988. First edition. Illustrated with a photograph of Walker Percy. Presentation copy (not numbered) of a limited edition of 250 numbered copies. Signed by Walker Percy. Fine without a dust jacket, as issued. $250.00.

The Thanatos Syndrome. Farrar, Straus & Giroux (1987). 1st Printing. Signed by Walker Percy. As New. $ 70.00.

Walker Percy Center for Writing and Publishing back to top

We are very pleased that Loyola University of New Orleans has chosen to honor Walker Percy with the creation of a Center for Writing and Publishing. The inauguration ceremony for the Walker Percy Center took place on March 10, 2010 where excerpts from Winston Riley’s “Walker Percy: A Documentary Film” were aired. See Loyola’s website for more information www.loyno.edu/wpc.