Friday, March 27, 2009

Review: Humbolt's Gift

What a wonderful, great, big, shaggy dog of a novel Humbolt's Gift is!

While litigating with his ex-wife, being bullied by a B-team mobster, and fending off the marriage plans of his young "palooka" girlfriend, narrator Charlie Citrine contemplates the life of his recently deceased best friend and meditates on big questions such as the nature of death, man's role in the cosmos, and theories of boredom.

With dozens of remarkable supporting characters and side stories, this long book is entertaining throughout. It is not a quick read, but it is worth the time.

Saul Bellow deserved his Nobel -- he was really the Grand Master of American letters. Anthony Burgess included this one on his list of favorite 99 novels.

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