Chicago finally acknowledges Saul Bellow

It took awhile, but the city of Chicago has decided to recognize its only Nobel Prize winning novelist, Saul Bellow, by selecting his novel The Adventures of Augie March as its One Book, One Chicago 10th Anniversary selection. An odd choice. Augie will not be an easy read even to the iPAD and Kindle generation. As Joseph Epstein states in his recent piece in The New Criterion perhaps Bellow “wasn’t a novelist at all but a high-octane riffer, a philosophical schmoozer, an unsurpassed intellectual kibbitzer, one of the great monologists of the age. But he was no storyteller. Which explains why one doesn’t have much taste for rereading him, and why, there is good reason to believe, future generations are likely to have even less taste for reading him in the first place.” 

So good luck Chicago readers in your perusal of Bellow’s 550 page narrative of a kid with immigrant parents cavorting in and around Humboldt Park during the Depression. I agree with Epstein that the discerning reader will appreciate some literary elements, but will be disappointed as to where the storyline goes.

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One thought on “Chicago finally acknowledges Saul Bellow

  1. Epstein hit the nail on the head in not only his description of Bellow’s style, but also in his opinion regarding future generations’ lack of appeal for Bellow — and the latter is unfortunate. As for Bellow’s style, it is what it is, and it’s unique; frustrating, yet creative; confusing, yet artistic; bad, yet good. There’s only one Saul Bellow, and he’s Chicago sole Nobel Prize winning novelist. Future readers, especially those that call the city of big shoulders home, should put a Bellow novel or two on their “To Read” lists not only to pay homage to an award winning author, but to also experience firsthand the unique roller coaster ride that is a Saul Bellow novel, no matter how difficult of a ride it may be 🙂

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