Saul Bellow was a celebrated Canadian-American writer known for his vivid characterizations of modern urban life and his deep insights into the complexities of human character. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1976 and is best known for novels such as 'The Adventures of Augie March,' 'Herzog,' 'Humboldt's Gift,' and 'Seize the Day.' His works often explore themes of personal identity, societal expectations, and the search for meaning in the 20th century.
This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.
The novel centers around Moses Herzog, a middle-aged, intelligent yet distressed man who is going through a mid-life crisis. After his second marriage fails, he falls into a state of emotional turmoil and begins writing letters to friends, family, and even famous figures, expressing his philosophical thoughts and personal feelings. His journey of self-discovery and understanding forms the crux of the story. It's a profound exploration of a man's struggle with the complexities of life and his quest for meaning.
"The Adventures of Augie March" is a novel set in Chicago during the Great Depression. The story follows the life of Augie March, a poor but spirited boy growing up in a broken home, as he navigates his way through life. The narrative explores his various jobs, relationships, and adventures, as he constantly seeks his identity and place in the world. His journey is marked by a series of encounters with different people and experiences, each shaping him in unique ways.
"Henderson The Rain King" is a novel about a wealthy, middle-aged American named Eugene Henderson who, unsatisfied with his life, travels to Africa in search of a deeper meaning. He becomes integrated into a tribe and is mistakenly thought to be the Rain King, a figure of great power and respect. Throughout the novel, Henderson grapples with his own personal growth, the meaning of life, and the clash of different cultures.
This novel explores the friendship between a successful writer and his mentor, a once-celebrated poet now living in poverty and mental instability. As the protagonist navigates his own existential crisis amidst a life of material success, he reflects on the ideals of his mentor and the nature of art and personal ambition. The narrative grapples with themes of materialism, the purpose of art, and the spiritual emptiness of modern life.
5. Dangling Man
Set in Chicago during World War II, the novel follows the life of a young man waiting to be drafted into the army. As he waits, he grapples with his feelings of isolation, frustration, and anxiety, which are exacerbated by his joblessness and the uncertainty of his future. His diary entries reveal his philosophical reflections on life, his struggles in his relationships, and his increasing mental instability as he feels more and more trapped by his circumstances.
"Mr. Sammler's Planet" is a novel that centers around Artur Sammler, a Holocaust survivor living in New York City. Sammler, an intellectual, attempts to reconcile his experiences during the war with the realities of 1960s America, which he views as a society consumed by materialism and lacking in moral clarity. The novel explores themes of survival, the human condition, and the struggle to maintain dignity and integrity in a world that often seems devoid of both.
The novel follows a single day in the life of a failed middle-aged man named Tommy Wilhelm who is estranged from his wife and children, and at odds with his father. As he grapples with his personal and financial failures, he seeks solace and a way out of his troubles through the advice of a dubious mentor, Dr. Tamkin. Throughout the day, Wilhelm experiences a series of humiliations and reflections on his life, leading to a moment of epiphany during a stranger's funeral. The story is a deep exploration of the human condition, the search for meaning, and the struggle for redemption in the face of despair.