The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow won the National Book Award in 1964.
The story follows the life of the eponymous hero from childhood in Chicago, through a sojourn in Mexico with a zany huntress, to life on the seas in the Merchant Marines. Full of Bellow's over-the-top characters and riddled with discourses on Big Ideas, Augie is a great American hero. Bellow is a treasure.
Bibliofreak (a thorough and excellent review)
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