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Kenneth Trachtenberg, narrator of Nobel Prize-winner Saul Bellow's tenth novel, is a witty, eccentric Russian-literature nut who leaves his native Paris to be near his famous American uncle, Benn Crader. Uncle Benn is a world-class genius in botany but a total duffer when it comes to women. Now his erotic escapades and disastrous marriage are about to lead him and Kenneth into a wonderful romp through America's mind-body dilemma...and into a Bellovian masterpiece of great wisdom and good fun.
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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.
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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