Henderson the Rain King is a seriocomic novel by Saul Bellow, first published in 1959. The novel examines the midlife crisis of Eugene Henderson, an unhappy millionaire. The story concerns Henderson's search for meaning. A larger-than-life 55-year-old who has accumulated money, position, and a large family, he nonetheless feels unfulfilled. He makes a spiritual journey to Africa, where he draws emotional sustenance from experiences with African tribes. Deciding that his true destiny is as a healer, Henderson returns home, planning to enter medical school.
“A kind of wildly delirious dream made real by the force of Bellow’s rollicking prose and the offbeat inventiveness of his language.” ?Chicago Tribune
“Bellow’s aura of fable is constantly washed over by humor, impulsive creation, and actual, turbulent detail.” ?The Nation
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Saul Bellow won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel HUMBOLDT’S GIFT in 1975, and in 1976 was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature ‘for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work.’ He is the only novelist to receive three National Book Awards, for THE ADVENTURES OF AUGIE MARCH, HERZOG, and MR. SAMMLER’S PLANETFrom AudioFile:
If this 1959 novel, one of Saul Bellow's most beloved, seems to have exceeded its shelf life, it helps to remember that much of the absurdity is intentional: Many believe the title character is a send-up of Hemingway. Joe Barrett is an excellent choice as the narrator of this tale about a rich American who journeys into remotest Africa. His gruff voice is well suited to Henderson, a physically large and garrulous man with a penchant for bombastic dialogue and philosophical ramblings. The voices Barrett gives to the African characters--notably the western-educated King Dahfu--are hardly authentic, but they're not grating, and some of the discordance can be laid at the feet of Bellow. D.B. © AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine
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