- Series: Penguin Classics
- Paperback: 608 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; Penguin Classics edition (October 3, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780143039570
- ISBN-13: 978-0143039570
- ASIN: 0143039571
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 141 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Adventures of Augie March (Penguin Classics) Paperback – Deckle Edge, October 3, 2006
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“[Bellow’s] body of work is more capacious of imagination and language than anyone else’s…If there’s a candidate for the Great American Novel, I think this is it.” –Salman Rushdie, The Sunday Times (London)
About the Author
Saul Bellow was praised for his vision, his ear for detail, his humor, and the masterful artistry of his prose. Born of Russian Jewish parents in Lachine, Quebec in 1915, he 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 Stories(2001). Bellow has also produced a prolific amount of non-fiction, collected in To Jerusalem and Back, a personal and literary record of his sojourn in Israel during several months in 1975, and It All Adds Up, a collection of memoirs and essays.
Bellow's many awards include the International Literary Prize for Herzog, for which he became the first American to receive the prize; the Croix de Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, the highest literary distinction awarded by France to non-citizens; the B'nai B'rith Jewish Heritage Award for "excellence in Jewish Literature"; and America's Democratic Legacy Award of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, the first time this award has been made to a literary personage. In 1976 Bellow was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work."
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I will say that the opening chapters made me work. This is not a quick read. But once I fell into Bellows's style and got accustomed to the philosophical monologues both from Augie and other characters , I found it hard to put down.
The dictionary definition of picaresque is "of or relating to an episodic style of fiction describing a rough, dishonest but appealing hero." Without a it
doubt this books encompasses this description. It paints a vivid picture of America notably but not limited to Chicago and Jewish live in the 1920s to 1940s.I especially like his writing style, often luminous but on occasion complicated to the point of being tortuous. Certtain passages paint a noteworthy word picture of various persons and events. Augie himself is a most engaging if flawed character. The rise and fall and rise and fall and once agin rise of his ever resourceful brother Simon is a superb character delineation worthy of the best such in literature.
Despite the above cited faults or perhaps, in part because of them, and the demands of the reader "The Adventures of Augie March" deserves to be in the pantheon of great English language novels.