Walker Percy, Obl.S.B. (May 28, 1916 – May 10, 1990) was an American writer, whose interests included philosophy and semiotics. Percy is known for his philosophical novels set in and around New Orleans, the first of which, The Moviegoer, won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. Trained as a physician at Columbia University, Percy decided to instead become a writer following a bout of tuberculosis. He devoted his literary life to the exploration of "the dislocation of man in the modern age." His work displays a combination of existential questioning, Southern sensibility, and deep Catholic faith. He had a lifelong friendship with author and historian Shelby Foote. Percy spent much of his life in Covington, Louisiana, where he died of prostate cancer in 1990.
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Master Shaku Soen liked to take an evening stroll through a nearby village. One day he heard loud lamentations from a house and, on entering quietly, realized that the householder had died and the family and neighbors were crying. He sat down and cried with them. An old man noticed him and remarked, rather shaken on seeing the famous master crying with them, "I would have thought that you at least were beyond such things." "But it is this which puts me beyond it," replied the master with a sob.