Jack Saturday

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Me And Saul Bellow

The only good I ever knew of was done by people when they were happy.
--Saul Bellow

I was referred to the book The Adventures Of Augie March by the poet John Berryman in an interview published in an old copy of the Paris Review I found in the WIN (Women in Need) thrift store on Cook St. here in Victoria, B.C., Canada some years back. Probably issue #53, Winter 1972.

I remember buying the copy because at the till I dug my hand in my pocket, fished out the change, nickels, quarters, pennies-- and it was the synchronicity of det är lagom to pay for the book, including tax, some obscure amount like $2.81.

Jim Andrews recommended Henderson The Rain King, I inherited his used paperback copy in fire-damaged but perfectly readable condition after the fire that gutted the apartments in the building in which he lived, across the street from the WIN store. Nice to read a book that smells of smoke.

My readings-aloud/recordings from those books were performed, among other places, in Greg Darms’s VW Beetle in a rainstorm, and in a chalet on Mt. Washington in the off-season where the owner, a woman in an excellent dream-discussion group I was attending had handed me the keys.

From there I went on to several of Bellow’s other works. Then I read on Carole’s deck in the sun a hardcover brand new volume of interviews with Bellow over the years, borrowed on a friend's card from the McPherson Library, UVic.

But Augie March and Henderson are the most memorable to me—delightful, powerful novels.

“Mr. Bellow stuck to an individualistic path, and steered clear of cliques, fads and schools of writing.”
--Mel Gussow and Charles Mcgrath New York Times, April 6, 2005


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