A Theft
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A Theft

3.15 of 5 stars 3.15  ·  rating details  ·  390 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Clara Velde, a corporate executive specializing in women's fashions, cherishes a ring given to her years before by a high powered Washington figure. The ring is lost and she attempts to recover it.
Paperback, 109 pages
Published March 28th 1989 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1989)
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Chris Thompson
This is the second novel I've read by Saul Bellow, a Nobel Prize-winning author. The first, Seize the Day, is very good, about a destructive American obsession with success. A Theft is a little trickier. It's about a woman, Clara Velde, with a successful career life, though a failed love life. What makes this novel so troublesome is that it's not very clear what the reader is supposed to make of Clara. Is she supposed to be a highly flawed heroine, or a fount of love and wisdom? Bellow exercises...more
Deborah Schuff
This slim novel packs a lot of meaning into its title. The theft is ostensibly of an emerald "engagement" ring given to (demanded by) Clara by Ithiel "Teddy" Regler many years ago. The first theft is by Clara when, after having lost the ring and then been paid by the insurance company, she finds it again but doesn't tell the company because she doesn't have the money to repay them. The second theft of the ring is by Clara's au pair boyfriend. The au pair eventually returns the ring, but not befo...more
Apr 01, 2010 §-- rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: novel
"I think you found the right word--right for both of us: vainglory." (p. 107)

Subtly funny throughout, a lot of fun. Bellow mocks post-60's man like only he--old, erudite, brilliant, Biblically-literate--can. A Theft is a comedy in its structure (low, ridiculous people getting lower and lower until a great surprise happy ending) and its tone, which is hilarious and ironic at every line. Bellow's narrator is, as usual, a smart-aleck well-versed in the classics, urbane and at a distance from the ac...more
The novella, as most understand it, is a long short story or a short novel. Therefore, anything in and around forty-five to one-hundred-and-fifty pages (I’m guessing) qualifies. Saul Bellow’s, A Theft, at one-hundred-and-nine pages, falls readily into this category.
But, for a writer, the definition of a novella must be more particular, because surely the difference between a short story and a novel encompasses more than just page counting. A short story is tight, carefully and deliberately cr...more
Almost identical in size to Seize the Day, but not quite as efficient, A Theft is Bellow's attempt at a female driven novel. Not males driven by female cravings, but a novel with a woman at the center. A damn good woman at that. Clara Velde is the kind of gal most New Yorkers would take home to Mom--with a stop on the side of the highway beforehand. A czarina of the fashion world, a midwestern Christian with endearing morals and a "personal take on the world," she might not be totally believable...more
Erik Wyse
A weaker, late work from Bellow. There are still small inklings or moments of a master at work but by large the novella disappoints, perhaps owing mostly to the challenge no quite met, though valiantly attempted by Bellow, to craft a story around a strong female lead.
Dec 27, 2011 Irina rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Bellow Fans
Recommended to Irina by: My Father
The issue I had with this novella by Bellow was that it just fell short of really exploring any of the realization and psychological complexities of it's main character: Clara Velde. I wasn't happy with how fast Clara was able to figure herself out and come to epiphanies on her behavior and feelings. It all just felt rushed. There were some great moments in the novella but all in all it just felt as if it was lacking. I was unsatisfied at the end.

I have to say that I really enjoyed Geoff Wisner...more
A Theft 1989.
The book's title refers to the disappearance of Clara's prized emerald ring. Clara Velde is a successful fashion writer. The ring's apparent theft leads Clara into a series of psychological crises and forces her to confront a long-buried complex of interpersonal issues.
Ravelstein, Bellow's final novel 2000, when Bellow was eighty-five years old. It tells the tale of a friendship between two university professors and the complications that animate their erotic and intellectual attac...more
Jeffrey Bumiller
I can tell that this is not the correct book to start with when reading Saul Bellow. He's obviously a great writer, but I had no luck connecting with any of the characters in this one. Maybe I should have started with Humboldt's Gift, or Herzog? Can somebody help me out here? I'm not gonna give up on the guy, I just don't know where to turn next.
Diana B
I think Saul has some great scenes and descriptions, but the plot became so repetitive and boring to me. All of the male characters blended into one general "male" to me, and I couldn't connect to any of the characters in a way that drew me into the story. Why couldn't Clara have more going on than falling for rich men?
To quote Dorothy Parker, "I did not set this aside lightly...I threw it with great force." Got a third of the way through this, and could not get over thinking that it was nothing more than self-important crap. I really didn't see any way for Bellow to turn around an opinion of such deep hatred, so I quit.
Jessica Bukowinski
I am not sure how this book made it onto my shelf, but I like novellas so I gave it a chance. I could not decide if I liked the book or the characters, but they stuck with me a while, so I guess there was something good enough to catch my attention in there.
Slow starting but has Bellow's verbal dexterity.
Jun 04, 2010 Gina rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: novel
This is the first Saul Bellow I've read. I had to keep reminding myself it wasn't a Dominick Dunne book: Rich people. Class issues. Adultery. Manhattan and Washington D.C. Missing jewels. Flowery prose. Not what I'd expected.
Actually, closer to 4, a very amusing Bellow attempt to enter the mind of a woman from the midwest turned fashionista. Still she sounds like Bellow's neurotic, jewish male characters. I liked this short book.
Not Bellow's best. An awkward thing, not quite sure if it's a short story or a novel or a novella, sparse in some areas and a bit too much in others. It's not bad, just uncertain. Still good in points.
incipit mania

Clara Velde, per cominciare con quello che si notava maggiormente in lei ...

Saul Bellow doing what he does best... writing about strange, neurotic people in a brilliant and insightful way. The story centers around an emerald ring, but in an interesting kind of way.
“I don’t actually take much stock in the collapsing culture bit. I’m beginning to see it instead as the conduct of life without input from your soul.”
― Saul Bellow, A Theft

Dennis C.
I didn't really care for any of the characters in this book. I've never read anything else by Saul Bellow, but I feel like his writing is great, but there wasn't much plot.
Quick, easy read. A little boring. Sure, it's acclaimed writer Saul Bellow, but even acclaimed writers have their moments of weakness.
Published in Indonesia as "Stolen Ring - Cincin yg Tercuri"
Noble literature..
But leaves shallow impression on me :D

my copy of this quick book mysteriously disappeared... only to turn up on my sister's reading list. a theft, indeed! :-)
Jane Susswein
I'D never read Bellow, and loved this. Am intent on reading the rest of his opus.
Anne Bradley
I enjoyed this, but somehow didn't quite buy the climax-to-conclusion.
Mar 23, 2010 Raymund is currently reading it
30 pages in. A little heavy handed. I feel the writer breathing down my neck.
A pointless, throwaway story, but entertaining enough for a summer day.
Not his best by a long shot, but I like the way he writes about women.
Robert Wechsler
A novella that seemed too tossed off and shallow to hook me in.
Just a novella...good writing, interesting main character.
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Saul Bellow was born in Lachine, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal, in 1915, and was raised in Chicago. He attended the University of Chicago, received his Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University in 1937, with honors in sociology and anthropology, did graduate work at the University of Wisconsin, and served in the Merchant Marine during World War II.

Mr. Bellow's first novel, Dangling Man, was pu...more
More about Saul Bellow...
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“I don’t actually take much stock in the collapsing culture bit. I’m beginning to see it instead as the conduct of life without input from your soul.” 8 likes
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