Monday, May 05, 2008

Saul Bellow, Humboldt's Gift

Saul Bellow, Humboldt's Gift. Charlie Citrine is a ridiculous puffed up writer (he's writing a perpetually unfinished treatise on boredom, but he made his big bucks on Broadway) who carries around a suffocating love for the dead. He owes and is owed debts to and from his boyhood hero, the washed-up poet Humboldt, who was the Guthrie to his Dylan. He spends every day worrying about his wife, his lawsuits, his girlfriend, his clothes, his racquetball game, his evaporating money, his car - but he longs to be a philosopher king. He keeps getting entangled in impossible messes with Chicago underworld types and he just can't seem to hold on to himself. Charlie is another Bellow hero filled with lofty yearnings and petty obsessions. I don't know why I love these ridiculous and idiotic men that Bellow writes about - they are nearly entirely worthless human beings.

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