It's interesting to look over other readers' reactions. For someone who has never felt lost or depressed, and has never suffered from the lack of a sense of purpose, I can see how this book would be incomprehensible. Walker doesn't dot all the i's in describing his characters' inner world, and the changes they undergo are gradual and subtle. In fact, I sometimes wished he had filled in the blanks a little more, but perhaps doing so would have turned Binx into a very different, more intellectual and articulate character.
First, in a world where depression has been largely medicalized, it's liberating to read a novel which describes it as a spiritual condition, and a natural reaction to meaninglessness. Binx's aunt and everyone else treats Kate as sick, but Binx understands her despair as a more acute version of his own malaise. He is the only one who takes her words and actions at face value, as expressions of who she is, and so the only one who can help her.
Throughout the book, people offer their own value systems, their own solutions to the search. Binx listens to them attentively, but he has too much self-knowledge to settle for something that doesn't feel like truth to him, even if he cannot explain why. He admires his aunt and her old-fashioned, aristocratic ethos, but he does not accept it. Yet he is so self-effacing that it is only at the end of the book that she discovers this. That scene is beautifully written, and rings very true....Continua