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Book Tips - Saul Bellow

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1976 was awarded to Saul Bellow "for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work".

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Henderson the Rain King

Through the lovable but bumbling Eugene Henderson, I have come to better understand that what may look like incompetency or disregard from the outside, is born from a sincere desire to connect with others and just not knowing how to.
/Ed Waters, United States
Full of meaning, thick in signs, salient english ... etc.
/Farid, France


Herzog's unusual sensibility has been portrayed strikingly.
/Soumya Choudhury, India
"The human soul is just an amphibian, and I have touched its sides", thinks Herzog with the gun in his hand after deciding not to use it when seeing his best friend, now the lover of his wife, washing his baby girl in the bathroom. Herzog's soul has been reduced to the first undeveloped matter that humans have emerged from. His reasoning and morals are dead when facing another failed marriage, a woman that played him and with him and who left him without money, without his daughter, with all his senses if not atrophied, then at least pushed back to their origins where only instincts lead them. Herzog is destroyed. He writes letters in his mind to various people. Letters that he never sends but allows him to keep in contact with the outside world, with his memories, enabling him to tell people (and the readers) what happened to him, how he failed again in his private life, his regrets, his humiliations, his inability to ever carry out what he starts. His thoughts go back and forth, from his childhood to the present day, from his first marriage that led to a son, Marco, to the newly ended one with a very sexy and equally intelligent woman that led to a daughter, June.
/Raluca Batanoiu, Germany
The most optimistic book I have ever read. Bellow is an incredible writer!
/Vladimir Sukletovic, Serbia & Montenegro
A profound, mesmerizing and beautiful dissection of the intellectual and personal lives of Moses Herzog, the archetypal, autobiographical "suffering joker" who populated Bellow's novels.
/Simon Collinson, Australia


It's bold and brash.
/Maktum, India

Seize the Day

Frustrations of failure brought out in a masterly fashion.
/Shekhar Mehra, India
A poignant story about the relationship between father and son Bellow captures the filial relationship with great depth; he shows the strengths and weakness of such a union.
/Aaron J Clarke, Australia

The Adventures of Augie March

Bellow was simply writing out of his head on the high wire of modern prose, letting it all hang out. He was the Harry Houdini of the Great American novel: sensuous, exuberant, mesmerising: writing from the heart of Paris from memory, inventing as he went along, tipping his hat to forbears like Twain and Whitman, combining the styles of Lawrence and Joyce, gaining depth from his readings of Dreiser and Dostoevsky for realism and psychological darkness.
/David Roberts, United Kingdom

The Dean's December

The moving comparison between the situation in Bucharest and the one around lake Michigan is moving and realistic, and it makes you wonder about the compromises we reach in different circumstances, about the value we place on different principles in different moments. Code has to play the battle in Romania (where the Colonel denies anyone's right to see the dying woman in the hospital), as well as the one in the democratic US (where a crime is not properly investigated). The victory, in the end, has its own price and one must pay for it, regardless of the political regime is in. This novel is a political drama that shows how similar two different states can be and how hard is the struggle of the individual for survival. In the end Bellow's story shows that justice can eventually be achieved in a democratic state, but the bitter (after)taste is still there, the way Romanians have gotten used to having it, not because they have reached the stage of justice, but because they cannot even fight for it. Bitterness has become their way of life. If in Chicago there is at least hope, in Bucharest that died long time ago.
/Raluca Batanoiu, Germany
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