The Message in the Bottle and Lost in the Cosmos

The Message in the Bottle and Lost in the Cosmos

The Message in the Bottle and Lost in the Cosmos

Walker Percy

Two fascinating philosophical inquiries from the “dazzlingly gifted” New York Times–bestselling and National Book Award–winning author of The Moviegoer (USA Today).

Winner of the National Book Award for The Moviegoer, the Southern writer Walker Percy possessed “an intellectual range and rigor few American novelists can match” (The New York Times Book Review). In these two provocative works, Percy manages to be perceptive and playful as he more directly explores the philosophical foundations of his groundbreaking fiction.

The Message in the Bottle: In these profound and passionate essays that “have a way of quickening the spirit and cleansing the sight,” Percy looks to language to answer the question of who we are as humans (The New Republic). He posits that the act of assigning meaning by naming things makes humans unique. Percy develops a theory of language through the example of Helen Keller being stimulated by the feel of water along with the sign for water, and explores questions such as why other animals don’t talk and why humans in technologically advanced, materially comfortable societies are so sad.

“A delight . . . a pleasure to read.” —Larry McMurtry, The Washington Post Book World

Lost in the Cosmos: “Charming, whimsical, slyly profound,” Lost in the Cosmos is a one-of-a-kind mix of self-help parody and philosophical speculation (The New York Times). Filled with quizzes, essays, short stories, and diagrams, Percy’s guide is a laugh-out-loud spin on a familiar genre that also pushes readers to serious contemplation of life’s biggest questions, such as: “Why is it no other species but man gets bored?” and “Explain why Moses was tongue-tied and stagestruck before his fellow Jews but had no trouble talking to God.”

“A mock self-help book designed not to help but to provoke; a chapbook to inveigle us into thinking about who we are and how we got into this mess.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review


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