Currently Reading: Humboldt's Gift

Saul Bellow was one of my dad's favorite writers.  When he turned 70, I bought him a first edition of Herzog.  He joked that the price on the inside cover was $4.95 and that I was so generous to spend that much on him.  

I myself had never read Bellow, but when I saw Humboldt's Gift at the library, I decided it was time.

The story is about the relationship between the intellectual Charlie Citrine and his mentor, Humboldt.  At the time the story takes place, Humboldt is dead, but Charlie is constantly talking about him to people, thinking about him, and sharing stories of their past together.

I can see why my dad liked Bellow's writing so much.  It's smart, witty, a little crass, and entertaining.  There isn't a plot so much as just Charlie's day to day existence, punctuated with stories from his past.  He deals with his ex-wife's demands in court, becomes embroiled with a wannabe gangster, and avoids marrying his girlfriend at all costs.

A good read, but a somewhat slow one.  The language can be somewhat dense and there are many things going on.  Topics discussed include religion, the American dream, finances, and the great writers.

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