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Mr Sammler's Planet (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Saul Bellow , Stanley Crouch
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 10.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

25 Oct 2007 Penguin Modern Classics
Mr. Artur Sammler, Holocaust survivor, intellectual, and occasional lecturer at Columbia University in 1960s New York City, is a "registrar of madness," a refined and civilized being caught among people crazy with the promises of the future (moon landings, endless possibilities). His Cyclopean gaze reflects on the degradations of city life while looking deep into the sufferings of the human soul. "Sorry for all and sore at heart," he observes how greater luxury and leisure have only led to more human suffering. To Mr. Sammler-who by the end of this ferociously unsentimental novel has found the compassionate consciousness necessary to bridge the gap between himself and his fellow beings-a good life is one in which a person does what is "required of him." To know and to meet the "terms of the contract" was as true a life as one could live.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (25 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141188812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141188812
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 195,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Bellows oeuvre is both timeless and ruthlessly contemporary. (Bryan Appleyard, "Sunday Times," London)

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
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Though few readers and critics would care to argue on the quality of Bellow's `The Adventures of Augie March' or `Humboldt's Gift', `Mr. Sammler's Planet' is a text which inspires much more disagreement. The novel's focus is the experiences of Artur Sammler, a Holocaust survivor living in the liberal New York of the late 1960s. Unable to escape his memories of the old world, and to find any comfort in the Jewish faith, Sammler lives with one foot in New York and one in wartime Poland, a character both highly intellectual and erudite, but also hugely frustrated and confused. Sammler appears to work as a mouthpiece for Bellow, and nearly every opinion we get in the novel is Sammler's, to a point where the narration seems almost first person. Sammler's reactionary tone, which is generally agreed to also be that of Bellow in this novel, has provided derision and frustration from many critics, who see Bellow's depiction of the Columbia students to be over-exaggerated and insulting, and the same of both the promiscuous Angela, and the Black thief, who is portrayed by Bellow as animalistic and purely physical. These portrayals, which have frustrated the majority of readers are an obstacle, but by no means destroy what is a fascinating and often illuminating novel.

From Sammler's recollection of an act of retribution in his escape from Auschwitz, to Wallace's lunar dreams and Sammler's struggle to unpack his own guilt, provide hugely thought provoking moments, often written with a beautiful, sparse language, and evoke some of the biggest questions and issues of the ouvre of an author known for his challenging of major themes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars more of an essay than a novel 17 Oct 2010
Bellow's earlier work - Augie March, Henderson the Rain King and Herzog - shows that he was one of the great novelists of our time. This book, however, is more of an essay than a novel. Written at the time of the US moon-shot, Artur Sammler reflects on his planet at the time of a giant new step for mankind. He lives in a decaying New York and he is a Holocaust survivor. So his report on his planet is not great - though he does recognise that things weren't great at the time of Julius Caesar either.

Sammler's benefactor is dying; his benefactor's children are ungrateful; Sammler himself has troubles with a pickpocket, and with his daughter and son-in-law. He reflects quite a bit on HG Wells and his world view. And on Meister Eckhardt, whom he is reading and with whom alone he feels an intellectual affinity. He stops to have a very long intellectual conversation in which he sums up his view of life in Chapter 5.

This is not without interest - but at the end of the day, more of an essay than a novel - and a book that is very much of its time.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Tedious mumbo-jumbo 14 Aug 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A tedious novel without plot nor caracters, full of appaling dialogue, naive pseudo-philosofical mumbo-jumbo and stupid generalizations on the Woman, the Black People, the Space Travels, the Human Soul (Saul?), etc. In sum, a "novel of ideas" at its worst, whose ideas are totally uncientific and ludicrously dated. Even worst than the ultra-boring "Ravelstein".
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