Saturday, August 20, 2011

Herzog (by Saul Bellow)

Another one of those books on my reading list that was a slog to get through. I'd call it a "novel of ideas," but only because it doesn't have much of a plot. (There are hundreds of pages of random stream of consciousness letters.) It deals with the idea of modernity and what it means, and in a way is a rejoinder to the idea of the modern world as a Wasteland. But I would much rather have a conversation about that or read a really good postmodern poem. This novel isn't postmodernist, although it's a 1960s novel, and this makes it feel kind of stale. Basically, it feels like the poor man's Ulysses, and I don't even love Ulysses.

"He noted with distaste his own trick of appealing for sympathy. A personality had its own ways. A mind might observe them without approval. Herzog did not care for his own personality, and at the moment there was apparently nothing he could do about its impulses." (p. 20)

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