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More Die of Heartbreak Paperback – September 8, 1997

3.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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The Underground Railroad
The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Put simply, Bellow's new novel is about a distinguished botanist who in middle age is driven by his libido into making a bad marriage. Put thematically, it's about the pursuit of happiness, which all too frequently results only in the acceptance of unhappiness. As in all Bellow's novels since Herzog , philosophical speculation is as important as plot, if not more so. Here Bellow dwells on the cult of sex in contemporary culture, as well as such soul-diminishing demands as the drives for power, wealth, and prestige. For him this entails an ordeal of desire from which the West is suffering as surely as the East suffers from an ordeal of privation. Serious stuff, certainly, but it is Bellow's genius that he can present a provocative novel of ideas as a riotous comedy. Ample proof that Bellow remains one of our most significant writers, the comic sage of American letters.Charles Michaud, Turner Free Lib., Randolph, Mass.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

One turns the last pages of More Die of Heartbreak feeling that no image has been left unexplored by a mind not only at constant work but standing outside itself, mercilessly examining the workings, tracking the leading issues of our times and the composite man in an age of hybrids. -- The New York Times Book Review, William Gaddis
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Delta (November 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385318774
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385318778
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,684,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
An man long devoted to intellectual pursuits comes down from his ivory tower in a final bid for love, but finds himself defenseless in the real world, where people do not understand him but are happy to harness his prestige for their own purposes. Benn Crader is a world famous botanist, but he also is a soft-hearted man, as you will know when you encounter the quotation that includes the book's title. Will the great scientist protect his special intellectual gifts, or will he allow the pressures of his new, very materialistic adopted family to destroy him? It's a great premise for a novel, and Bellow covers many, many of its implications and takes the story to a logical yet surprising ending. Bellow's narrator, Crader's admiring nephew, often takes off on tangents to ruminate on current events, the contemporary intellectual scene and various intellectual pursuits. Some of these tangents seem to fit into the story better than others, and once in a while I got frustrated and found myself paging ahead to see when he would stop ruminating and start telling the darn story again. Yet Bellow's intellectual meanderings include many interesting observations about life, and taken as a whole, they help to build a textured world around the story. "More Die of Heartbreak" is not a literary classic, but it is worth reading.
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Format: Paperback
Just when you think that you understand Bellow, this book comes along. By the way, do night buy this book, there is a newer version from Penguin in 2003 with a better introduction: ISBN 0142437743

I am a Bellow fan, read all of his novels, and wrote an Amazon guide: "A Guide to Reading Bellow." The present book is excellent. If I had to recommend just one, it would be "Herzog." but saying that, the present book is a surprise, like a breath of fresh air. Some of his novels have a warmth and charm, and have a certain tongue in cheek approach in describing the trials and tribulations of the narrator. The humour is mixed in with the meaning of our short lives, and the future of our souls. Bellow thought that the development of realism was the major event of modern literature. That includes how we view subjects such as sex, life and death, etc. Having said that, we see two changes here. One is that in most Bellow novels the men dominate the women, or they are equal. Yes, the women often divorce our hero in other works, but here the men are like putty in the hands of the women. Also, instead of one narrator, the present narrator, Kenneth, is so close to his uncle Benn that it seems like the story about two people not one.

In case you are new to Bellow, his novels reflect his life, his writings, and his five marriages during his five active decades of writing. He hit his peak as a writer around the time of "Augie March" in 1953 and continued through to the Pulitzer novel "Humbolt's Gift" in 1973. He wrote from the early 1940s through to 2000. His novels are written in a narrative form, and the main character is a Jewish male - usually a writer but not always - and he is living in either in New York or Chicago. Bellow wrote approximately 13 novels and a number of other works.
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Format: Paperback
Saul Bellow was the one author on the syllabus of a college course I took years ago whose work(Herzog, I think) we never got around to. I am sorry it took me so long to get back to him.
The singular impression I got as I read and continued reading was that the story line held together throughout. Most writers have great inspiration and poor execution or great execution and poor inspiration, and the fabric frays. In this magnificent and therapeutic work, however, Bellow displays an admirable/enviable ability to manage the project and keep the reader invested to the very end.
Now back to Herzog.
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Format: Paperback
I felt a certain tiredness in this work, a certain contrivance of a kind I did not feel in the most gripping Bellow works, Herzog, Seize the Day, Henderson the Rain King. But I also felt that old Bellow gift for inspired insight into life, a kind of reflectiveness on the everyday which makes a poetry of ' seeing'. The story here of the aging botanist in disappointed love as told by his botanist nephew does not in my judgment touch us in the deepest way .It's not the greatest Bellow but every Bellow has much to give.
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