Henderson the Rain King

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Overview

Henderson the Rain King, is seriocomic novel by Saul Bellow, first published in 1959. The novel examines the midlife crisis of Eugene Henderson, an unhappy millionaire. The story concerns Henderson's search for meaning. A larger-than-life 55-year-old who has accumulated money, position, and a large family, he nonetheless feels unfulfilled. He makes a spiritual journey to Africa, where he draws emotional sustenance from experiences with African tribes. Deciding that his true destiny is as a healer, Henderson ...

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Henderson the Rain King

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Overview

Henderson the Rain King, is seriocomic novel by Saul Bellow, first published in 1959. The novel examines the midlife crisis of Eugene Henderson, an unhappy millionaire. The story concerns Henderson's search for meaning. A larger-than-life 55-year-old who has accumulated money, position, and a large family, he nonetheless feels unfulfilled. He makes a spiritual journey to Africa, where he draws emotional sustenance from experiences with African tribes. Deciding that his true destiny is as a healer, Henderson returns home, planning to enter medical school.

“A kind of wildly delirious dream made real by the force of Bellow’s rollicking prose and the offbeat inventiveness of his language.” — Chicago Tribune

“Bellow’s aura of fable is constantly washed over by humor, impulsive creation, and actual, turbulent detail.” — The Nation

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bellow's classic novel of a dissatisfied American millionaire finding himself in Africa has been newly recorded in time for the novel's 50th anniversary. Joe Barrett reads the seriocomic tale of Eugene Henderson, who flees workaday American anomie for the freeing chaos of Africa. Barrett's voice is pleasingly gravelly, rimed with experience and rising to a growling screech at particularly heated moments. Every audio recording should be so lucky as to work with Bellow's prose, but this version, directed by Keith Reynolds, is more than adequate. Barrett is to be commended for sounding like a man of Bellow's era, not his own; one can almost picture Bellow's voice emitting a similar blend of assurance and self-conscious anxiety. A Viking hardcover. (July)
The Nation
Bellow's aura of fable is constantly washed over by humor, impulsive creation, and actual, turbulent detail.
Chicago Tribune

"A kind of wildly delirious dream made real by the force of Bellow's rollicking prose and the offbeat inventiveness of his language."
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423393511
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 7/15/2009
  • Series: Audible Modern Classic
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Saul Bellow
Saul Bellow won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel HUMBOLDT’S GIFT in 1975, and in 1976 was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature ‘for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work.’ He is the only novelist to receive three National Book Awards, for THE ADVENTURES OF AUGIE MARCH, HERZOG, and MR. SAMMLER’S PLANET

Biography

Praised for his vision, his ear for detail, his humor, and the masterful artistry of his prose, Saul Bellow was born of Russian Jewish parents in Lachine, Quebec in 1915, and was raised in Chicago. He received his Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University in 1937, with honors in sociology and anthropology, and did graduate work at the University of Wisconsin. During the Second World War he served in the Merchant Marines.

His first two novels, Dangling Man (1944) and The Victim (1947) are penetrating, Kafka-like psychological studies. In 1948 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and spent two years in Paris and traveling in Europe, where he began his picaresque novel The Adventures of Augie March, which went on to win the National Book Award for fiction in 1954. His later books of fiction include Seize the Day (1956); Henderson the Rain King (1959); Mosby's Memoirs and Other Stories (1968); Mr. Sammler's Planet (1970); Humboldt's Gift (1975), which won the Pulitzer Prize; The Dean's December (1982); More Die of Heartbreak (1987);Theft (1988); The Bellarosa Connection (1989); The Actual (1996); and, most recently, Ravelstein (2000). Bellow has also produced a prolific amount of non-fiction, collected in To Jerusalem and Back, a personal and literary record of his sojourn in Israel during several months in 1975, and It All Adds Up, a collection of memoirs and essays.

Bellow's many awards included the International Literary Prize for Herzog, for which he became the first American to receive the prize; the Croix de Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, the highest literary distinction awarded by France to non-citizens; the B'nai B'rith Jewish Heritage Award for "excellence in Jewish Literature"; and America's Democratic Legacy Award of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, the first time this award has been made to a literary personage. In 1976 Bellow was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work."

Bellow passed away on April 5, 2005 at the age of 89.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Also Known As:
      Solomon Bellow (real name)
      Saul Bellow
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 10, 1915
    2. Place of Birth:
      Lachine, Quebec, Canada
    1. Date of Death:
      April 5, 2005
    2. Place of Death:
      Brookline, Massachusetts

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2000

    Man Searches for Meaning in Life

    In Saul Bellow's book, 'Henderson the Rain King', he portrays many sides of a complex man. The main focus of the book tends to be on the drastic changes that occur to Eugene Henderson when he leaves the comfort of his million dollar artificial life in America, and ventures into the unspoiled regions of Africa. Leaving behind his crass attitude and all the miseries he brought upon himself and his family, he begins to have the signs of a midlife crisis and decides to venture into Africa. Once starting upon the journey in Africa, Henderson slowly begins to realize what he really wants to achieve in his life and comes out of the adventure with a greater sense of who he really is, and his new ambitions. The ending seems to just happen without revealing a key part of the story. <P> The setting of the book was what made all of the revelations possible for Henderson. After he goes away from the materialistic world he was raised in, he is forced into a new situation where money means nothing. In Africa, he is forced to be on the same level as the commoners as well as royalty. Seeing how other people live happily without everything he thought life is made up of, he realizes what he really wants to make himself happy. Such simplicity in the African world gives time to show his character development and the complexity in the issues he faces in finding who he really is.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The First Book I Ever Read by Choice

    I picked up this book when I was 13 just after I had surgery. My parents took me to a getaway for the weekend and I spent it reading. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I credit Saul Bellow and my parents for my love of reading 30 years later.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2005

    why what happened

    saul bellow wasn't creative and his language was to complex, he should provide notes or analisis like shakespere does, he needs to put more detail and open his mind more.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2003

    Reminder how complexed some people are

    I was assigned this book by my Honors English teacher and I think that Hendersons character shows that even the strongest man (by physical appearance ) can be very weak on the inside. I enjoyed reading the book and can't wait to read me by this author.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2001

    very enjoyable

    I enjoyed reading this book. Buy it, read it enjoy it. Great relaxation story kind of book. Interesting ideas.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2001

    Excellent study of self-discovery

    I read this book as part of a Contemporary Literature course. It is about an unhappy man who travels to Africa to try to find himself. I enjoyed this book immensely- it has an exotic setting, an extremely interesting lead character, and very important life lessons. Anger, sadness, helplessness, depression, loss, contentment are all dealt with. I recommend this book to everyone!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

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