Augie

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…

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: