The Adventures of Augie March, Paperback Book

The Adventures of Augie March Paperback

Part of the Penguin Modern Classics series

5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Saul Bellow's American masterpiece, The Adventures of Augie March includes an introduction by Christopher Hitchens in Penguin Modern Classics.A penniless and parentless Chicago boy growing up in the Great Depression, Augie March drifts through life latching on to a wild succession of occupations, including butler, thief, dog-washer, sailor and salesman.

He is a 'born recruit', easily influenced by others who try to mould his destiny.

Not until he tangles with the glamorous Thea, a huntress with a trained eagle, can he attempt to break free.

A modern day everyman on an odyssey in search of reality and identity, Augie March is the star of star performer in a richly observed human variety show, a modern-day Columbus in search of reality and fulfilment.

Saul Bellow (1915-2005) was a Canadian-born American writer who enjoyed a dazzling career as a novelist, marked with numerous literary prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature.

His books include The Adventures of Augie March, Herzog, More Die of Heartbreak, Mosby's Memoirs and Other Stories, Mr. Sammler's Planet, Seize The Day and The Victim.If you enjoyed The Adventures of Augie March, you might like John Updike's Rabbit, Run, also available in Penguin Classics.'The Adventures of Augie March is the Great American Novel.

Search no further'Martin Amis, Guardian'Funny, poignant, crowded with carnivalesque types and yet narrated by a voice that is lonely and simple, it is Bellow's fat comic masterpiece'Observer


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Epic in the truest sense, an astonishingly dense and beautifully lyrical account of an undistinguished Chicago kid's coming of age. I wasn't too far into "The Adventures of Augie March" before I realized that one reading wasn't going to be enough and that I'd have to re-read it before too long. Bellow packs more material and feeling into two or three pages than some novelists can manage in entire novels: the book fairly bursts with characters, anecdotes, and uncannily great descriptive passages. There's something Joycean about the whole thing, too. Bellow inserts plenty of classical references in his description of grimy, busy mid-century Chicago, and his writing transmogrifies Chicago's trainyards and ethnic slums into hauntingly beautiful and memorable places, making them unlikely settings for literary greatness, But great is what "The Adventures of Augie March" is: its rich, almost grandiose sentences subtly probe the Big Questions while capturing the deeply affecting idiosyncrasies of the book's characters. It's nothing short of stunning. The next time I've got a few weeks to fill -- and God only knows when that will be -- I'll surely be picking this one up again.

Review by

"External life being so mighty... you produce a someone who can exist before it.", March 10, 2015This review is from: The Adventures of Augie March (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)Verified Purchase(What is this?)This review is from: The Adventures of Augie March (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)I've finally finished it! And though it's a very dense read (not one to take to bed; you need to be 'on the ball' to cope with Bellow's prose), it's also extremely enjoyable.The storyline follows our eponymous 'hero' from humble origins in Depression era Chicago, child of a simple-minded mother and unknown father, through a succession of jobs and relationships. From lowly work to getting 'taken up' by wealthier individuals, Augie's narrative includes wonderful, often very humorous, descriptions; interposed with his story are conversations on life which he has with his various acquaintances.I don't pretend to have picked up on all the philosophical musings, but there's a lot of powerfully expressed truths in those I did. For example, on human dissembling:"Even in a few minutes' conversation, do you realise how many times what you feel is converted before it comes out as what you say? Somebody tells you A. Your response is B. B you can't say, so you transform it, you put it through the coils of your breast. From DC to AC, increased four hundred volts, filtered. So instead of B, there comes out gamma sub one....Mind you, I'm a great admirer of our species. I stand in awe of the genius of the race. But a large part of this genius is devoted to lying and seeming what you are not."A challenging book (536 p) but one I'm glad I read.

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