In which Bellow presents us with the perpetually outraged, perpetually pampered Herzog. I kept thinking that the book is the male writer's answer to the sophisticated romance novel - Herzog is offered delicious food, love, and great sex by a series of beautiful, intriguing women. A utopian fantasy, isn't it? The only problem is that Herzog is hung up on one of these women, his second ex-wife Madeleine, a meretricious academic wannabe and Jew-turned-Catholic (horrors, according to Herzog!). From the reader's point of view, Madeleine's reason for being is clear enough - she is one of the most unforgettable villains in literature, along with her strange associate Valentine. Bellow's examination of the folie a deux that connects Madeleine and Valentine is more fascinating than the most twisted reality show. But the main character's reason for being is less clear - okay, he's a fully sketched human being, but why should Herzog be interesting enough to narrate this novel? He mostly isn't; he writes countless letters puffed up with pseudo-learning and philosophical gibberish. In the end, the writing is lovely enough to carry you through to the end, but the book's reason for being was not always clear to me.
The novel demonstrates how consciousness and our reality is formed and altered by theories or narratives and how a person can benefit by becoming more engaged.
I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
Holy hell. My wife recommended this book to me, in what I can only assume was some cruel practical joke.
I listened for an hour and NOTHING AT ALL had happened.
I'll return to it again because my wife wants me to read it, but for all of you out there who have free will, run for the hills.
I'll update my review if I ever hate myself enough to finish the book.
So I really tried.....I got through about 5 hours but I just couldn't continue - nothing happens
I liked the idea of a main character who spends most of his time writing letters, the style and narration are good but don't say you were not warned. It is so incredibly dull.