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The Adventures of Augie March Paperback – Oct 3 2006
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“[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 was praised for his vision, his ear for detail, his humor, and the masterful artistry of his prose. Born of Russian Jewish parents in Lachine, Quebec in 1915, he was raised in Chicago. He received his Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University in 1937, with honors in sociology and anthropology, and did graduate work at the University of Wisconsin. During the Second World War he served in the Merchant Marines.
His first two novels, Dangling Man (1944) and The Victim (1947) are penetrating, Kafka-like psychological studies. In 1948 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and spent two years in Paris and traveling in Europe, where he began his picaresque novel The Adventures of Augie March, which went on to win the National Book Award for fiction in 1954. His later books of fiction include Seize the Day (1956); Henderson the Rain King (1959); Mosby's Memoirs and Other Stories (1968); Mr. Sammler's Planet (1970); Humboldt's Gift (1975), which won the Pulitzer Prize; The Dean's December (1982); More Die of Heartbreak (1987); Theft (1988); The Bellarosa Connection (1989);The Actual (1996); Ravelstein (2000); and, most recently, Collected Stories(2001). Bellow has also produced a prolific amount of non-fiction, collected in To Jerusalem and Back, a personal and literary record of his sojourn in Israel during several months in 1975, and It All Adds Up, a collection of memoirs and essays.
Bellow's many awards include the International Literary Prize for Herzog, for which he became the first American to receive the prize; the Croix de Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, the highest literary distinction awarded by France to non-citizens; the B'nai B'rith Jewish Heritage Award for "excellence in Jewish Literature"; and America's Democratic Legacy Award of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, the first time this award has been made to a literary personage. In 1976 Bellow was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work."
Top Customer Reviews
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.
it is a difficult book with some obscure (modernist) proustian strange stuff that is incongruous with the down to earth pragmatism of the theme. but it is beutiffully written. and i found it a hard slog but am so glad that i endured it - things in life are often difficult. this is my desert island book. its greatness didnt hit me at first, but it did, and now i am convinced that if i hadnt read it i would lack ninety nine percent of the success that i have had since.
my language fails me. just read it.
Predating Jack Kerouac's "On The Road" by nearly a decade, "The Adventures of Augie March" tells the story of a young man from an impoverished Chicago neighborhood who rejects conventional expectations that he make the best of all good situations that, in other lives, would have led to riches and satisfaction. While his brother Simon goes out to find the quickest way to taste the cream of the business world, only to discover that it isn't at all the way to the happiness he'd imagined, Augie--a man who never quite makes the break from childhood into manhood but instead continues on the same unbroken line of judging the world through what refractions the lenses of his emotions augur--continually renews himself through a series of piqaresque adventures as he searches for "the axial lines" of his life.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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 morePublished on July 18 2004
Recently Martin Amis claimed this was the great American novel, and it's as good a candidate as I've read. Read morePublished on April 29 2004
Recently Martin Amis claimed this was the great American novel, and it's as good a candidate as I've read. Read morePublished on April 29 2004 by Douglas S. Hardy
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 morePublished on Jan. 17 2004 by C Brunner
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 morePublished on Dec 23 2003 by Daniel H. Yeary
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. Read morePublished on Dec 12 2003 by pluto
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 morePublished on Oct. 13 2003 by T. zisis
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. Read morePublished on April 15 2003 by Daniel A. Stone