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3.9 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-4 of 4 reviews(3 star)show all reviews
on December 28, 2002
This book was probably the most hit-and-miss I have ever read. I really enjoyed the stream of consciousness internal monologues by the main character, and after having read this and other books by Bellow, I've decided Bellow is the most original thinker of 20th century English language writers, capable of the most profundity. However, this book had little to hold it up in between these moments. The plot was weak, the characters varied from interesting(the protagonist, most of the time) to obnoxious(his daughter and the Hindu doctor).
Other reviewers have made the claim that looking for solely plot is superficial, and while I agree somewhat(but I also think this is their elitist way of intimidating those who didn't like the book into feeling uneducated and stupid), I agree only in the sense that great fiction should ideally have more than simple plot. But this book has almost no plot, nothing more than contrived situations in order to house the author's intelligent postulates. This is fiction, and story is what makes fiction thrum. If Bellow really wanted a context in which to pose these ideas, he should have just released a collection of essays, possibly interrupted with anecdotal short stories and brief allegories(I get that feeling reading most of his work.)
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on November 29, 2000
I'm an avid reader, but I admit to being a little lost while reading Bellow's Mr. Sammler's Planet. Overall, I liked the book. I could feel the tension and chaos of the late 1960's in the story. But the story moved along at an excruciatingly tedious pace, laced with just enough bursts of clarity to keep me going until the end.
The extremely long passages of exposition and long-winded monologues became difficult to manage after awhile. But I persevered because I knew that just beneath all of that lay a good story. Although the story is very dated in many areas, I was able to glean enough universal elements that made the book relevant for me in the year 2000. I'm sure the more scholarly readers out there would say that I missed the whole point and many important themes. But I say that each reader takes away from a book what is important to him or her--nothing more, nothing less--and what I gained from the book was worth plowing through it.
I found Bellow's character description to be clear and crisp, if not overly defined. The quirks and personalities he gave to the more defined characters proved interesting throughout. However, I was a little distracted by Bellow's continual references to how the women characters smelled (usually bad in this book).
This was my first experience with Bellow but not my last.
Also, I thought the New York setting was a plus.
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on April 26, 1999
Mr. South Dakota. I hope that you read most of you're books more in depth than you read this one. Not only is the information in this book relevent, it is an intense study of the times. Much of the information in this book is not only telling of the times, it is relevent to the current era as well.While it may be tedious for some to read, I believe it is a necesity.
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on April 26, 1999
Mr. South Dakota. I hope that you read most of you're books more in depth than you read this one. Not only is the information in this book relevent, it is an intense study of the times. Much of the information in this book is not only telling of the times, it is relevent to the current era as well.
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