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200 pages of plot, 300 of navel gazing,
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This review is from: Humboldt's Gift (Paperback)
Having enjoyed "Seize the Day" I thought why not give his Pulitzer Prize winner a go? In short there is a plot buried in here but garnished with acres of turgid prose when the lead character contemplates his own existence, waxes lyrical about the Greek philosophers, HL Mencken, Woodrow Wilson at every opportunity while surrounding himself with sycophantic lawyers and hangers-on. You can almost re-edit this book yourself, cross out any paragraph longer than half a page and you will get rid of most of the self-analysis and reveal what is actually a quite engaging story. The Pulitzer is usually a guarantee of over-written rubbish and this is no exception. The works of most of the so-called American "Men of Letters" of Bellow's generation have aged badly (particularly Updike), or are of variable quality (Tom Wolfe, Roth, Pynchon, John Irving) because they feel the need to advertise their extensive knowledge of the world and it's history to their readers. Norman Mailer at least leaves the self-aggrandizment to his non-fiction works. On the strength of "Seize the Day" I will probably give another of Saul Bellow's books a go, maybe even this one as I now know which sections to skip.