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Monthly Archives: July 2016

Reading The Adventures of Augie March. Weirdly formless. A ramble on family matters, grandmothers, meals at supper tables, then short-armed attempts at low-level crime.  Suddenly Augie is abandoned in the Midwestern wilderness and has to boxcar his way back.

Bellow’s tremendous value is in his language, a boisterous, happily grubby and open and democratic tongue that revels in its Jewishness and not only in his grand-mere’s throes of Yiddish.  Mustards and rye bread and pickled fish.  In Humbolt’s Gift there’s the most delectable description of an attendant’s balls as he’s stoking the stones in a heated sauna.

Rich and corpulent, it’s been suggested this is the canny, second generation American Jew taking his place in this nation – here I am, he says, not just in idea, it sound, or scholarship, or rumor, or tapping you on the shoulder, but full-bodied.  “First to knock, first to enter,” insistently and bravely present. Thinking, too, of Philip Roth and his sexuality. Decidedly masculine. Who has suffered in attention these last several years…