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Henderson the Rain King (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Saul Bellow
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 10.45 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

25 Oct 2007 Penguin Modern Classics
Bellow evokes all the rich colour and exotic customs of a highly imaginary Africa in this comic novel about a middle-aged American millionaire who, seeking a new, more rewarding life, descends upon an African tribe. Henderson's awesome feats of strength and his unbridled passion for life earns him the admiration of the tribe - but it is his gift for making rain that turns him from mere hero into messiah. A hilarious, often ribald story, HENDERSON THE RAIN KING is also a profound look at the forces that drive a man through life.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (25 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141188804
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141188805
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


a A kind of wildly delirious dream made real by the force of Bellowas rollicking prose and the offbeat inventiveness of his language.a a"Chicago Tribune" a Bellowas aura of fable is constantly washed over by humor, impulsive creation, and actual, turbulent detail.a a"The Nation"

About the Author

Saul Bellow's dazzling career as a novelist has been marked with numerous literary prizes, including the 1976 Nobel Prize, and the Gold Medal for the Novel. His other books include The Adventures of Augie March, Herzog, More Die of Heartbreak, Mosby's Memoirs and Other Stories, Mr Sammler's Planet, Seize The Day and The Victim. Saul Bellow died in 2005.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful rich novel with great characters 30 Sep 2011
By Mr. R. N. Lock VINE VOICE
Saul Bellow has created a wonderful off the wall at times, complex easy reading novel - its about a man's yearning and searching with the words "I want" going around in his head leading him on to find himself. This book had me laughing out loud and wondering about the many insightful happenings and wisdom from the characters that have profound teachings. This is a real mix and different, I also loved the backdrop of Africa that the story weaves around - this book will be well remembered after, and for me it will always leave a smile on my face when I remember it.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book that's Fun to Read 22 July 1998
By A Customer
This book proves that great writing can be readable. I read this novel for the first time over twenty years ago, several times in between, and it was just as wonderful last week. You laugh, you cry, you empathize. If you're tired of beach books, but also weary of pseudointellectual book snobs who tell you that prose must be labyrinthine to be literature, and that laughable isn't laudable, take this book on vacation and share it with a friend.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leaving the existance of becoming for existance. 14 Jan 1999
By A Customer
One of my personal favorites. An inspiring novel that will strike a chord in the heart of anyone who has felt in need of something greater in their lives than themselves, Henderson the Rain King is a hectic journey of one man through not only the world, but life and, perhaps most importantly, his own soul. Henderson is constantly in a process of becoming in his own mind, and in his fervor to try and metamorphasize into a type of finished being, he fails to notice that through his evolution he is achieving his goal of simply existing. He is lovably egocentric; existing as the sun of his own universe while striving to gain an orbit of his own. He uses his wives to try to fill some empty spot in his existance, professing over and over again his love for his current wife, with little notice or mention of any real depth or desire that she may possess, speaking only of her beauty and creating a view of the female gender that smacks of Hemingway. Henderson's deficiency is one of the soul, and enlightenment is the only path which will bring him peace. He possesses a jaded love of life, in so much as he has experienced enough horror in the world that he cannot look upon it in wide-eyed wonder, but is struck profoundly by the sights and moments in life which are filled with rough hewn and genuine beauty which do inspire in him a sense of awe. It is these moments and spaces of depth within his soul which make his dark optimism for life so endearing. He is, as he himself says, a creature constantly becoming, yet it is through this constant evolution that he reaches his goal, finds peace, and fulfills the "I want"s. He is a man not of thought but of action, and it is only from within himself that he may realize that it is only through perpetual becoming that Henderson the Rain King may exist.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The emperor's new clothes.. 25 July 2005
A case of... ?
Occasionally genuinely amusing and unique in its approach, but more often than not obtuse and vague in its intentions. A real struggle to finish. Has dated greatly in comparison to the Roths and Updikes of the same period.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some good bits 21 Aug 2012
This book starts off really well with some great phrases and a bellicose main character whose opinions are on life are brashly entertaining. He is a man of great energy and likes to barge his way into every situation and take control. This gets him into a couple of spots of bother on a trip to Africa. The first of these is tinged with black humour as his unbridled enthusiasm in himself leads to an inevitable disaster.

Sadly it goes horribly wrong after that with vast rambling philosophical passages that I found difficult to penetrate let alone understand. I probably just didn't get it and I didn't actually dislike the book as a whole. I just found it a bit frustrating. Like Henderson himself, for all it's opening bluster it offered nothing. Maybe that was the point though.
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