Humboldt's Gift

Bellow, Saul

(Paperback - 2008)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Humboldt's Gift
Penguin Putnam
?I think it A Work of genius, I think it The Work of a Genius, I think it brilliant, splendid, etc. If there is literature (and this proves there is) this is where it’s at.” ?John Cheever

Saul Bellow’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel explores the long friendship between Charlie Citrine, a young man with an intense passion for literature, and the great poet Von Humboldt Dleisher. At the time of Humboldt’s death, Charlie’s life is falling apart: his career is at a standstill, and he’s enmeshed in an acrimonious divorce, infatuated with a highly unsuitable young woman, and involved with a neurotic Mafioso. And then Humboldt acts from beyond the grave, bestowing upon Charlie an unexpected legacy that may just help him turn his life around.

This Penguin Classics edition features an introduction by Jeffrey Eugenides.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Series that include this title

Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2008
ISBN: 9780143105473
Branch Call Number: FIC B
Characteristics: xvi, 494 p. ; 20 cm.
Additional Contributors: Eugenides, Jeffrey


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Aug 17, 2012
  • mikeladd rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Beautifully written, one of the defining books of my life. Is it long-winded in parts? Yes. Are you going to learn more about "Theosophy" than you ever, ever wanted to learn? Yes. But are you going to bear witness to an author pushing the boundaries of what someone can accomplish with the English language, and do so with humor, and warmth, and intelligence? Yes. I can't abide by the fact that this novel has a two-star rating because someone criticized its "slow plot." I can understand where that person comes from because sometimes I want a book which is more plot-focused and less "literary," but come on. It's Saul Bellow. Giving this novel two-stars? Do you have any idea what it would take to write something like Humboldt's Gift? And then to give it two stars? Goodness. At least give it three? I mean, that is "above average." Surely you can give one of the greatest modern novelists an "above average" on one of his singular works. If not, why rate it at all. Why am I getting all up set about this? I don't know.

May 02, 2011
  • photogrrlkp rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I had a tough time with this one - I felt like the story didn't really get interesting until about three-quarters of the way through. It wrapped up nicely, but in my opinion, the ending was not worth the effort of plodding through the very slow plot.


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