Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Saul Bellow, giant of American literature, dies at 89

Guardian Unlimited Books | News

"From his earliest days, Bellow was determined to depart from the sparely written and macho American brand of story telling, falling back on a self-absorbed intellectual as narrator and plundering his often tumultuous personal life for material."

I remember when I read Mr Sammler's Planet, his theorising that we are "an explaining generation" always trying to explain everything, a sort of folly insofar as it appears to precede understanding, had a profound effect on my way of thinking. I sought out a collection of his short stories, from which I still recall something about a ramshackle place in the desert. (If I remember anything at all about a book, I've decided, it means that was a good book. Most are forgotten.)

It's been a bad week for people in their eighties, the Pope, Prince Rainier and now Saul Bellow (and of course, thousands more we'll never hear about.) Bellow was quite impressive in another way too, he fathered a child in 1999, which would make him 83 at the time.


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