Customer Review

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Read, 26 Jun 2012
This review is from: Ravelstein (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I took this book up because I had heard Martin Amis and Christopher Hitchens declare their admiration for Saul Bellow. Indeed, for Amis, Bellow seems to have become a sort of mentor or father figure. I read Seize the Day a decade ago, but it did not resonate. I had really wanted to read Humboldt's Gift, but then I stumbled on Ravelstein and thought, `Why not?'

I quickly realized Ravelstein must have been Allan Bloom, made famous for his Closing of the American Mind, to which Bellow penned the preface. Ravelstein recounts the friendship between Bellow and Bloom (Chick and Ravelstein) as professors during what might be called their sundowner years -Ravelstein is dying and asks Chick to write his memoir, which Chick does after his own near-death experience.

The novel is a good one. I appreciated the descriptions of Raveltsein's brilliance and excesses and the magnetism he had over his students and colleagues. I also liked the references to classical learning (Bloom translated The Republic during the `60s, I think) and ruminations about Jewishness and what that means. There are a few jokes and surprising cultural references, and anecdotes and descriptions are quite entertaining. The book is well-written; there is hardly a sentence that is not thoughtfully crafted, and the story carries you along, for the most part. I thought it lagged a bit near the end (when it shifts from Ravelstein to Chick, or Bloom to Bellow) and that it was a little dry in places, but then it was meant as a fairly serious book and it was published when Bellow was 85. I liked the novel enough to want to come back to Bellow in the future, which means, for me, Ravelstein did what it was supposed to.

Troy Parfitt is the author of Why China Will Never Rule the World
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments

Tracked by 1 customer

Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 Dec 2013 12:58:43 GMT
Peter says:
Gazooks, if any work or deed of mine received a recommendation from that pair of pretentious phoneys, Amis & Hitchens, I'd be horrified. Saul Bellow is well capable of standing on his own feet without such assistance.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details

Item

4.2 out of 5 stars (4 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (1)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
10.99 8.27
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: Canada

Top Reviewer Ranking: 8,452