Great Chicago Books Club: Saul Bellow’s Humboldt’s Gift
Sunday, January 28, 2018
Oak Park, IL 60304
The Great Chicago Books Club begins the 2018 schedule with Saul Bellow's Humboldt's Gift, which won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction in 1976, the same year the author received the Nobel Prize in Literature. The novel's narrator, Charles Citrine, a commercially successful writer, explores his relationship with mentor Von Humboldt Fleischer, a poet's poet who died a failure. The novel touches on a wide variety of themes and follows as many intellectural strains. It is set in Chicago, and Bellow penetrates the city with searing analysis and astute observations. He scatters throughout the narrative lines like, "We sat with whiskey, poker chips, and cigars in this South Chicago kitchen penetrated by the dark breathing of the steel mills and refineries, under webs of power lines. I often note odd natural survivals in this heavy-industry district. Carp and catfish still live in the benzine-smelling ponds. Black women angle for them with dough-bait. Woodchucks and rabbits are seen not far from the dumps. Red-winged blackbirds with their shoulder tabs fly like uniformed ushers over the cattails. Certain flowers persist."
All are welcome to join the GCBC discussion. It is free. If you plan to attend the first meeting, please contact Don Evans; he will provide details, including address.