Wonderful book. Read this for book group - divided opinion which always makes it more interesting. I thought it was a fantastic book, very funny, excellent subtle work on religion, bigotry, our assumed prejudices about 'savages in Africa'. The ridiculousness of the situations the main character gets himself into counter balance with the subtle layer about politics, power, influence and religion. I like Confederacy of Dunces and Flowers for Algernon if that helps you see my sense of humour.
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.
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.
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.
I expected this to be a much better book than it was - as, after all, it is a 'classic'. Our book group chose to read it last month, and not one of us enjoyed i; we are quite a varied bunch - this joins one or two other books in our 7 year history as definitely 'not worth it'.