Saul Bellow is on every critic’s top ten list. John Updike has called him our best portraitist, he is a mentor to the British writer, Martin Amis, and his Chicago has become as familiar as Joyce’s Dublin. He has received three National Book Awards, the Pulitzer Prize and, in 1976, the Nobel Prize for Literature. You could read Bellow’s new novel “Ravelstein” for clues about his real life friendship with Allan Bloom, the controversial and flamboyant author of the 1992 bestseller, “The Closing of the American Mind.”
You could also read it as a Saul Bellow meditation on friendship, writing and dying. Abe Ravelstein is a larger than life philosopher at the University of Chicago, who chain smokes, lives extravagantly, and is as much of a gossip as he is an intellectual. Before Abe dies, he asks his friend, Chick, to write his biography. Saul Bellow’s “Ravelstein,” on this Connection.
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