A novella, in which an ageing man writes an apology for his rudeness to a librarian thirty-five years earlier, unleashing a dazzling, rancorous comic riff on growing old, regret, rudeness, smoking and 'the world's grandeur'.
'We were friends, somehow.But in the end, somehow, he intended to be a mortal enemy.All the while that he was making the gestures of a close and precious friend he was fattening my soul in a coop till it was ready for killing.'
Vital, exuberant, streetwise and philosophizing, Nobel Prize winner Saul Bellow is one of the undisputed masters of American prose. In this inspired novella an ageing man writes an apology for his rudeness to a librarian thirty-five years earlier, unleashing a dazzling, rancorous comic riff on growing old, regret, rudeness, smoking and 'the world's grandeur'.
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Saul Bellow was born in 1915 to Russian emigre parents. As a young child in Chicago, Bellow was raised on books - the Old Testament, Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Chekhov - and learned Hebrew and Yiddish. He set his heart on becoming a writer after reading Uncle Tom's Cabin, contrary to his mother's hopes that he would become a rabbi or a concert violinist. He was educated at the University of Chicago and North-Western University, graduating in Anthropology and Sociology; he then went on to work for the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Bellow published his first novel, The Dangling Man, in 1944; this was followed, in 1947, by The Victim. In 1948 a Guggenheim Fellowship enabled Bellow to travel to Paris, where he wrote The Adventures of Augie March, published in 1953. Henderson The Rain King (1959) brought Bellow worldwide fame, and in 1964, his best-known novel, Herzog, was published and immediately lauded as a masterpiece, 'a well-nigh faultless novel' (New Yorker). Saul Bellow's dazzling career as a novelist was celebrated during his lifetime with an unprecedented array of literary prizes and awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, three National Book Awards, and the Gold Medal for the Novel. In 1976 he was awarded a Nobel Prize 'for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work'. Bellow's death in 2005 was met with tribute from writers and critics around the world, including James Wood, who praised 'the beauty of this writing, its music, its high lyricism, its firm but luxurious pleasure in language itself'.
Him With His Foot in His Mouth by Saul Bellow
Used - Very Good
Penguin Books Ltd
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