Like West, he seems to have hit upon that intangible something that lurks under the surface of cultures which appear prosperous but have a hidden malaise or disease, for lack of better words. Unlike West, the book is populated with pop culture references, instead of West's more varied and esoteric references. Percy's grasp of this world is perhaps more like Roth than West, but it is just as good as either. This is a real standout. It's also one of the few overtly existential American novels I have read from back then. Percy doesn't let his philosophy get in the way of the story, which sometimes happens with the overtly philosophical writers. A classic. One of the best American novels of the century, far as I'm concerned.