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The Adventures of Augie March [Paperback]

Saul Bellow
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 26 2006 Penguin Classics
The Adventures of Augie March is the great American Novel. Search no further.” –Martin Amis

As soon as it first appeared in 1953, this novel by the great Saul Bellow was hailed as an American classic. Augie, the exuberant narrator-hero is a poor Chicago boy growing up during the Great Deptression. A “born recruit,” Augie makes himself available for a series of occupations, then proudly rejects each one as unworthy. His own oddity is reflected in the companions he encounters—plungers, schemers, risk-takers, and “hole-and corner” operators like the would-be tycoon Einhorn or the would-be siren Thea, who travels with an eagle trained to hunt small creatures. This Penguin Classics edition, with an introduction by celebrated writer and critic Christopher Hitchens, makes a literary masterpiece available to a new generation of readers.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Frequently Bought Together

The Adventures of Augie March + Humboldt's Gift + Herzog
Price For All Three: CDN$ 40.80

  • Humboldt's Gift CDN$ 13.72
  • Herzog CDN$ 13.00

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Product Description

Review

“[Bellow’s] body of work is more capacious of imagination and language than anyone else’s…If there’s a candidate for the Great American Novel, I think this is it.” –Salman Rushdie, The 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. Christopher Hitchens (b. 1949) is among the best known and most controversial figures in contemporary media. He is a prolific author, journalist, literary critic, and public intellectual who is often described as a "contrarian". Hitchens has been a columnist at Vanity Fair, The Nation, Slate and an occasional contributor to many other publications. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
I AM AN AMERICAN, Chicago born-Chicago, that somber city-and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted; sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent. Read the first page
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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 An American Luftmensch April 15 2003
Format:Paperback
This is easily one of the finest novels that I have ever had a chance to read and proves one of the basic rules of good fiction--experience bucks education. Augie is the product of his own character, intent on understanding all that surrounds him as he makes his way through up and down the cultural, class, and political divides of the 1920's, 30's and 40's. The narrative is the education of a poor boy who could see as much value in the pronouncements of a crippled boss, exiled intelligentsia, and pool room hustlers as in the massive amount of poetry, fiction, and history that he assimilates into his worldview--one that values common decency as much as intelligence and cunning.

This is a book that I have now read three times and the view of American idealism from fifty years ago when it was published is simply awe inspiring. The times when the text breaks from its narrative molde and goes into an extended discussion of philosophicl ideas in Yiddish inflected vernacular with idiosyncratic grammar can make you cranky and can often be perplexing. This is completely secondary though, for a close reading of any of these passages brings to light just how sophisticated Augie is--some of the actions he takes make him seem only slightly smarter than an ape though.

If this had been the only book that Bellow had written he still would have earned the Nobel Prize in 1976. I can thnk of few books I have read where a character has drank so deeply and appreciatively of their own culture, upbringing, and experience as Augie March did. When Augie opens his mouth with the book's first sentence declaring "I am an American," he speaks with a level of sincerity, certainty and complexity that animates very few other characters in the novels of any nation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The American Novel Dec 12 2003
By pluto
Format:Paperback
The perfect gift for any male who has learned to read. Although it is filled with daunting historical and anthropological references, one needn't be afraid to skip them. Bellow would be the first to understand. This is the greatest American novel and nothing else is even close. Melville, Hawthorne, James, Dreiser, Lewis, Wolfe, Hemmingway, Mailer, et. al., are amateurs by comparison. If you are going to read one book in your lifetime, THIS IS THE ONE. What is it about? It's about everything: the straight dope, no quarter given, no sacred cow spared, no good deed unpunished, no relief for either the virtuous or the wicked; humanity celebrated and exposed; the old, the young, connivers, sufferers, strivers, slackers, cons, cripples, pols, debutantes, grand dames, burghers, prize fighters, polymaths, revolutionists, feminists, whores, and tycoons; authority, philosopy, religion, politics, economics, civics, tribalism, philanthropy, sex, money, pride, vanity, hope, despair, all tickled relentlessly and effortlessly, toppled of their own weight. Bellow looks into the void and comes away chuckling, and so will you if you've got the right stuff. If you haven't got it, let Augie help you find it, but don't forget to read between the lines. Whatever you do, don't let academic idiots and caviling critics divert you from reading it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An American Luftmensch April 15 2003
Format:Paperback
This is easily one of the finest novels that I have ever had a chance to read and proves one of the basic rules of good fiction--experience bucks education. Augie is the product of his own character, intent on understanding all that surrounds him as he makes his way through up and down the cultural, class, and political divides of the 1920's, 30's and 40's. The narrative is the education of a poor boy who could see as much value in the pronouncements of a crippled boss, exiled intelligentsia, and pool room hustlers as in the massive amount of poetry, fiction, and history that he assimilates into his worldview--one that values common decency as much as intelligence or kindness.
This is a book that I have now read three times and the view of American idealism from fifty years ago when it was published is simply awe inspiring. The times when the text breaks from its narrative molde and goes into an extended discussion of philosophicl ideas in Yiddish inflected vernacular with idiosyncratic grammar can make you cranky and can often be perplexing. This is completely secondary though, for a close reading of any of these passages brings to light just how sophisticated Augie is--some of the actions he takes make him seem only slightly smarter than an ape though.
If this had been the only book that Bellow had written he still would have earned the Nobel Prize in 1976. I can thnk of few books I have read where a character has drank so deeply and appreciatively of their own culture, upbringing, and experience as Augie March did. When Augie opens his mouth with the book's first sentence declaring "I am an American," he speaks with a level of sincerity, certainty and complexity that animates very few other novels.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good, But Not a Page Turner Feb. 22 2002
By -_Tim_-
Format:Paperback
The Adventures of Auggie March is a difficult book to read, but when read slowly, it rewards your effort more than most books do.
Auggie is an odd character who meets a lot of other odd characters. During the course of his adventures, he learns a lot about the world, or says he does, but he's not good at applying what he learns to his own life, and he ends up in about as big a mess as he begins in. This is a little disappointing, but Auggie is not that sympathetic a character, so it's not as disappointing as it might be.
We learn a lot too. Saul Bellow studied sociology and anthropology, and he tells us a thing or two about the poor, and people who are down on their luck. At one point, Einhorn, Auggie's mentor, tells him: "Young fellows brought up in bad luck, like you, are naturals to keep the jails filled - the reformatories, all the institutions. What the state orders bread and beans long in advance for. It knows there's an element that can be depended on to come behind bars to eat it." Similarly informative passages, about business, love, the training of wild animals, etc., can be found by opening the book at random to almost any page. (In fairness, a good part of what's said is over-generalization or just not true, but still you're going to leave this book feeling pretty impressed by what the author knows.)
So why not five stars? For one thing, the writing doesn't exactly propel you from one page to the next. For another, the book is not very uplifting. You've heard of Man's Search for Meaning? This book comes very close to telling us that there isn't any. That's pretty hard to take.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive and yet- Saul and Augie, can't we get on with it?
For what has been widely described as both a picaresque and coming-of-age novel, Augie March is neither a quick read nor an easy one. Read more
Published on July 18 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Exhilarating
Recently Martin Amis claimed this was the great American novel, and it's as good a candidate as I've read. Read more
Published on April 29 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Exhilarating
Recently Martin Amis claimed this was the great American novel, and it's as good a candidate as I've read. Read more
Published on April 29 2004 by Douglas S. Hardy
4.0 out of 5 stars He Tries!
He is a good-hearted young man who tries to make a go of it, but, as Stella says, falls into the whims and desires of so many people he meets. Read more
Published on Jan. 17 2004 by C Brunner
4.0 out of 5 stars Born on the Fourth of July
An elegant, poetic walk through the life of a uniquely American character. Augie March goes humbly into Depression-era America and, in the search for the best inside himself,... Read more
Published on Dec 23 2003 by Daniel H. Yeary
3.0 out of 5 stars A nice bunch of short stories
I'm not going to write a long winded literary review. I think this book is best read as a series of short stories. I read a chapter a day and was able to get through it that way. Read more
Published on Oct. 13 2003 by T. zisis
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatness
This book is greatness. To Soul Wanderer below: Opinions vary.
Published on April 22 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars drop everything. stop and ardour this novel.
absolutely essential if you are a young man (in his twenties) like i am. this is an exploration of a boys quest for other peoples pragmatism which at first, in each case he... Read more
Published on Nov. 3 2001 by clayton ayling
5.0 out of 5 stars Among Bellow's Best
As an author with my debut novel in its initial release, I am a great admirer of Saul Bellow. I think highly of all of his works, and I consider his ADVENTURES OF AUGIE MARCH... Read more
Published on Sept. 10 2001 by Kent Braithwaite
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