“What is the nature of the search? you ask. Really it is very simple; at least for a fellow like me. So simple that it is often overlooked. The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life.” Percy’s novel, his first, is a philosophical quest in which the question marks are worn lightly. Binx Bolling is a New Orleans investment broker who chafes over the difficulty of bringing life into high relief. Mere existence lacks flavor. Movies give him a glimpse of a higher possibility. That and sex with his succession of pretty secretaries. But he longs for a more enduring solution. You marvel at how lightly he addresses his displeasures—Percy’s book is like Sartre’s Nausea without the nausea. But Binx is still a man who always has his despair at the ready, and his story can shift toward the tragic with ease.