Henderson the Rain King

Henderson the Rain King

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by Saul Bellow
     
 

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The most exuberant and funny of all Bellow’s novels, Henderson the Rain King remained the author’s personal favorite. Its outsized hero, Eugene Henderson, a mountain of a man, a millionaire, the father of many, remains adrift. Aggrieved, worn-out, all but defeated he longs to set things straight. Following the promptings of his unforgettable inner

Overview

The most exuberant and funny of all Bellow’s novels, Henderson the Rain King remained the author’s personal favorite. Its outsized hero, Eugene Henderson, a mountain of a man, a millionaire, the father of many, remains adrift. Aggrieved, worn-out, all but defeated he longs to set things straight. Following the promptings of his unforgettable inner voice—“I want, I want, I want”—our hero finds himself in Africa. Henderson makes his way into a mythic sun-baked interior, where among exotic tribes he finds fellow seekers, teachers and soulmates. Whether blowing up a cistern full of frogs or learning to walk without fear among the lions, soulful, zany Henderson intends to burst his “spirit’s sleep.”

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."
Chicago Tribune

"It made me dance."
—Henry Miller

From the Publisher
"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

"It made me dance."
—Henry Miller — Chicago Tribune

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781623730079
Publisher:
Odyssey Editions
Publication date:
03/29/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
174,270
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

A fiction writer, essayist, playwright, lecturer, and memoirist, Saul Bellow was born in Lachine, Quebec, in 1915, and was raised in Chicago. He received his Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University in 1937 and did graduate work at the University of Wisconsin before serving in the Marines during World War II. Later, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict, Bellow served as a war correspondent for Newsday. Throughout his long and productive career, he contributed fiction to several magazines and quarterlies, including The New Yorker, Partisan Review, Playboy, and Esquire, as well as criticism to The New York Times Book Review, The New Republic, The New Leader, and others. Universally recognized as one of the greatest authors of the twentieth century, Bellow has won more honors than almost any other American writer. Among these, he received the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Humboldt's Gift and the B’nai B’rith Jewish Heritage Award for “excellence in Jewish literature.” He was the first American to win the International Literary Prize, and remains the only novelist in history to have received three National Book awards, for The Adventures of Augie March, Herzog, and Mr. Sammler's Planet. In 1976, Bellow was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work.” Saul Bellow died in 2005 at age 89.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
June 10, 1915
Date of Death:
April 5, 2005
Place of Birth:
Lachine, Quebec, Canada
Place of Death:
Brookline, Massachusetts
Education:
University of Chicago, 1933-35; B.S., Northwestern University, 1937

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Henderson the Rain King 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.

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.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LoveTheSpurs More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book. Buy it, read it enjoy it. Great relaxation story kind of book. Interesting ideas.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.