The Adventures of Augie March, by Saul Bellow

A love-and-hate relationship with this book. The world of the novel – strange, alien, uninteresting to me, couldn’t connect with it. The writing itself – the first 50 pages my reading had to halt short with every word, struggling each time to retrieve the pace of the sentence and with it its logic and syntax; re-reading a sentence or whole passage quite often, occasionally with a frustrated loud yell at the book in my hands, something like “what the hell do you mean here man?”

But in between there were such profound bits dropped round the obscure corners of this tiresome journey! And of course, having wrestled with the book for 3 months through almost 600 pages, unwilling to give it up, the last 20 pages I found just brilliant. Not in the denouement, but the writing becomes fluid and reaches out to a vision – a vision of who this otherwise unremarkable hero is and why his journey has been as it has been. Some light is thrown, some vision is created, in passages that are memorable and beautiful. Great themes like love, truth, the ephemeral human existence and power over the universe!

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