Robert's Reviews > The Adventures of Augie March

The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
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's review
Dec 21, 2007

really liked it
Read in December, 2007

This novel has been on my "to read" list for a long time, even before Martin Amis declared it "the Great American Novel" several years ago in Harpers. It's stuffed with dozens of vivid characters and incidents, and as a Chicagoan and Chicago fan I was especially taken with Bellow's descriptions of the city and its sometimes bizarre inhabitants in the 1930s and '40s. The narrative thread is essentially a variation on that classic theme: a young man's search for identity and a place in the world. For better or worse, Augie March, the narrator, is one of those fictional characters with a tendency to philosophize about life as he tells his life story. Sometimes, I thought the story would have been just as deep without all the musing. March's escapades in Mexico, including an ill-fated love affair with an eccentric woman who's obsessed with training an eagle to hunt lizards, were wonderful, culminating in a romantic breakup that eloquently, emotionally encapsulated why so many relationships go wrong. The ending left me slightly puzzled, as to why Bellow chose the end the story where he did. Among the Bellow books I've read, I think this one's not as strong as "Henderson the Rain King," although it's hard to compare a book you've just read with one you read some years ago. (The other Bellow novels I've read, which I would say are good but not as great as these two, are "Herzog" and "Seize the Day.")
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message 1: by Kirstie (new)

Kirstie thanks for your review...well, I think perhaps I will tackle this when I'm thirty. I have a feeling that's when I'll be ready. Until then, it's a saved treasure just waiting for me. It's good to have specific literature to look forward to.

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