An essential masterwork by Nobel laureate Saul Bellow
Expecting to be inducted into the army during World War II, Joseph has given up his job and carefully prepared for his departure to the battlefront. When a series of mix-ups delays his induction, he finds himself facing a year of idleness. Written in diary format, Bellow’s first novel documents Joseph’s psychological reaction to his inactivity while war rages around him and his uneasy insights into the nature of freedom and choice.
Saul Bellow (1915–2005), author of numerous novels, novellas, and stories, was the only novelist to receive three National Book Awards. He also received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the Nobel Prize in Literature, and the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. During the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict, he served as a war correspondent for Newsday. He taught at New York University, Princeton, and the University of Minnesota and served as chairman of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.
“In this imaginative journal, set against fresh and vivid scenes in Chicago, the author has outlined what must seem to many others an uncannily accurate delineation of themselves.” (New York Times)
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The novella was Bellow's first and many of the themes he will develop more fully later are already adumbrated here.
Sartre's la Nausee each book looks for life's meaning and sees aimless freedom as inherently meaningless.
- Jacob Arnon