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1001 book reviews > Herzog by Saul Bellow

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Jessica Haider (jessicahaider) | 124 comments Hmmmm.

This was the first novel that I've read by Saul Bellow. We will catalog this one as "I can appreciate the writing but this book didn't quite do it for me".

I see from the sidebar on the goodreads page for this that "people who liked this book also liked" books by John Updike and Phillip Roth. I can totally see that. As I was reading this it very much reminded me of something by Roth.

So, this book was about a man of a certain age: Moses Herzog. He is/was a professor. He's been married a couple of times and had some other relationships with women. His life falls apart around him. He spends a lot of time pontificating, blathering, reminiscing about his childhood and about being Jewish. He's a 1960's intellectuals' intellectual. The book is told in a series of long, rambling, letters that go unsent. Nothing much happens. Just a lot of reflection and diving deep into the mind of Herzog.

So I am balancing out my rating at 3 stars. 4 for the writing, dragged down by the lack of appeal I found in the character and the general feeling of the book. For me, it as just a bit too much of Bellow trying to be overly clever and erudite.

message 2: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1353 comments Pontificating and blathering: sums it up perfectly!

Diane | 2022 comments Rating: 3 stars

Jessica's quote, "I can appreciate the writing but this book didn't quite do it for me", definitely sums up my feelings for this book and all of the other books by this author. This is the 7th book I have read by this author. None of these books have received over a 3-star rating from me. This one I liked maybe slightly more than most.

This is about an intellectual middle-aged professor. Most of the action of the book takes place in his mind. He writes rambling letters to varioud family members, friends and acquaintances, and even the dead. He never sends the letters.

Not a bad book, but I feel as though I have been here before with other list books (probably his list books).

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