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Praised for his vision, his ear for detail, his humor, and the masterful artistry of his prose, Saul Bellow was born of Russian Jewish parents in Lachine, Quebec in 1915, and 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 Sto
This collection of 13 of Bellow's (long) short stories, many of them classics, demonstrates the Nobel Prize winner's formidable literary presence. His characters have prospered in the American century, and now, in their old age, are beginning to doubt its endurance. Bellow likes to take a man at "the top of his field" and, from that perspective, survey the discontents of civilization. Some - like Victor Wulpy in "What Kind of Day Did You Have?" - refuse to retire and take mistresses in their mid-70s. Others, like Willis Mosby, the foreign relations guru writing his mandarin's memoirs in Oaxaca, consider retirement another chance to score points. Bellow's women still rise to the top as they did in the 1950s - by association with men. In "A Theft," Clara Velde, who has successfully formed her own journalism agency, still defines herself in terms of her husbands. Generally, these interior dramas are saturated with the realistic and metaphorical atmosphere of Chicago. Yet the crowning jewel here is "The Bellarosa Connection," in which the unnamed narrator is a retired Philadelphia memory expert who reflects on his friendship with a man still obsessed with his escape from WWII Europe and the legendary showbiz promoter who helped him. Bellow's stories spread rather than march in straight lines, like memory itself, giving a kinesthetic sense of a stained, bamboozled and fundamentally comic culture. A preface by the writer's wife, Janis, an introduction by essayist James Woods and an afterword by Bellow himself, in which he makes a prescient case for short fiction in this time of "noisy frantic monstrous agglomeration," add to the collection's appeal. (Nov. 1). Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"Mr. Bellow's gift for delineating the American scene...is unrivaled." --Michiko Kakutani, in The New York Times "A feast.... One of the most rewarding collections of the year." --San Francisco Chronicle "Mr. Bellow''s gift for delineating the American scene...is unrivaled." --Michiko Kakutani, in The New York Times "A feast.... One of the most rewarding collections of the year." --San Francisco Chronicle