The Actual: A Novella

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Overview

In this superb work of fiction, Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow writes comically and wisely about the tenacious claims of first love. Harry Trellman, an aging, astute businessman, has never belonged anywhere and is as awkward in his human attachments as he is gifted in observing the people around him. But Harry's observational talents have not gone unnoticed by 'trillionaire' Sigmund Adletsky, who retains Harry as his advisor. Soon the old man discovers Harry's intense forty-year passion for a twice-divorced interior ...

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Overview

In this superb work of fiction, Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow writes comically and wisely about the tenacious claims of first love. Harry Trellman, an aging, astute businessman, has never belonged anywhere and is as awkward in his human attachments as he is gifted in observing the people around him. But Harry's observational talents have not gone unnoticed by 'trillionaire' Sigmund Adletsky, who retains Harry as his advisor. Soon the old man discovers Harry's intense forty-year passion for a twice-divorced interior designer, Amy Wustrin. At the exhumation and reburial of her husband, Harry is provided, thanks to Sigmund, perhaps the final means for disclosing feelings amassed over a lifetime. Written late in Bellow's career, The Actual is a maestro's dissection of the affairs of the heart.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143105848
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/24/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 663,654
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Saul Bellow
Saul Bellow (1915-2005) wrote thirteen novels and numerous novellas and stories in his lifetime. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1976.

Joseph O'Neill is the author of Netherland and Blood-Dark Track: A Family History.

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

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2013

    First love digs deep "But Amy was well aware that I turned

    First love digs deep

    "But Amy was well aware that I turned to her continually and all my efforts to detach myself from her had failed completely. She understood what first love can do. It strikes you at seventeen and, like infantile paralysis, though it works through the heart, not the spinal cord, it, too, can be crippling."

    As always with Bellow, this novella has very little plot, but the characters, ideas, and especially the prose more than make up for that. A strongly emotional story with a perfect, if ambiguous, ending. To be savored.

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