Mr. Sammler's Planet

Mr. Sammler's Planet

by Saul Bellow

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781623730314
Publisher: Odyssey Editions
Publication date: 11/13/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 268
Sales rank: 976,669
File size: 499 KB

About 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.

Date of Birth:

June 10, 1915

Date of Death:

April 5, 2005

Place of Birth:

Lachine, Quebec, Canada

Place of Death:

Brookline, Massachusetts


University of Chicago, 1933-35; B.S., Northwestern University, 1937

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“The most important writer in English in the second half of the twentieth century…Bellow’s oeuvre is both timeless and ruthlessly contemporary.” –Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times (London)

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Mr. Sammler's Planet 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
richardderus on LibraryThing 3 months ago
BkC6) Fun, fun, fun to read. Not the story, mind, but the storytelling!Have to take issue with myself here. This isn't quite as fluffy as this one-liner makes it sound.Rating: 3.75* of fiveThe Book Report: Mr. Artur Sammler survived the Holocaust, but isn't sure he'll survive 1960s New York. Once without food and without dignity and without hope, he looks on bemused as people with everything material the planet can supply wallow in misery and spiritual angst. Sammler, an observer by nature, doesn't know how to get past his own limitations of spirit to reach out to men or up to god to make connections that could guide his fellow beings out of desperation or himself out of stasis.But this is a novel. A National Book Award-winning novel. So, he does. It is a gorgeous piece of writing.My Review: This was less catharsis than exegesis for me. Sammler's idea of a Good Life, as opposed to the Americans he sees around himself living The Good Life, is knowing the terms of the contract...what's expected of me, now that I'm here? what is it that makes a life worthy, therefore worth living?...presupposes that there is an inherent moral compass and that it's oriented the same way for all people, that is along the Judeo-Christian axis.Hmmm.Well, go with it, I instruct myself, because it's the author's thesis, not yours. So I did, and I found the resolution to Sammler's crisis very moving.But, if I'm honest, it still irks me that there is a monopolar world of the spirit, and there is nothing at all outside of it allowed in.'s some wonderful writing!
cdeuker on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Okay, it's a little wordy at times, but any book that makes you as uncomfortable as this one is a great book. The subject is profound: meaning, purpose of life. The answers are all in the form of questions. Unflinching honesty. A great book.Bare plot: Sammler, holocaust survivor, leaves in New York on the charity of his only slightly younger nephew. Nephew has aneurysm of the brain and is dying. Eccentric daughter steals manuscript of Indian lecturer on H.G. Wells because she's convinced Sammler is writer a great book on Wells and could use it. Sammler sees black pickpocket on bus; said pickpocket sees Sammler seeing him. PIckpocket follows Sammler to hotel lobby and exposes himself to Sammler--sexual domination of the old man by the young man. Sammler tries to makes sense of this world and it's complexity, with some success and many failures. A true book.
JGH37 More than 1 year ago
Seeing the world through the eyes of Mr Sammler. a 70 year old Jew living in New York City, opens the reader's eyes to see his experience of the world in which he lives. Mr Sammler's interpretation of his world, from Holocaust in Germany to multi-cultural America, challenges the reader to examine cultural norms. As Mr. Sammler seeks his meaning and place in the world the reader is invited to consider the same. Do we accept only what we see, or consider there may be more that we do not see? What is the nature of the planet we live on?
JohnDoze More than 1 year ago
I may go back and read the book, but the audio version was insufferable. The reader's style fairly dripped with smug self-importance that overlaid the whole book. What a smart aleck! Yet the book, too, was jammed with page after page of endless lists and intellectual confetti that didn't so much build the characters as fluff Bellow's ego. On and on he went, ricocheting like a rabid dog, throwing in every thought he'd ever had on every subject under the sun. Next to him, Henry Miller wrote haiku.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I had to - it was assigned as a text in a American intellectual history class I took in college in 1974 - but it moved me, nevertheless. I have gone back to it since and, if anything, it reads even better now. The anti-1960's topical crankiness has a different context now, and you can appreciate the intelligence and the characters more. Most important, though, I challenge anyone to read the last page and not have their breathing stop for just a moment. It is, to me, the most heart-felt comment on the human condition I have read in American literature. And now that Bellow is gone, it reads to me poignantly as if it were his own commentary on a life well-lived
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having enjoyed Humboldt's Gift I imagined Mr. Sammler's Planet would be half as enjoyable at least. Instead I was amazed. The book, in short, deals with the end of the 20th century, survival, New York, The Holocaust, man's obligation to one another and obligation to family. There's plenty of comic mishaps and eccentric, intellectuals but I was impressed with the heart of the story. The heart belongs, of course, to Mr. Sammler. Seeing a modern, mixed-up New York through the eyes of a Polish Holocaust survivor was truly enlightening. I was surprised by how much heart the book truly had. A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys great prose, great ideas and a heightened way of looking at the world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is Bellow's most grumpy book. Its whole tone and feeling is of disenchantment with life, and anger with the mess of a civilization we live in. West Side New York is shown at its Needle Park worst. As it is Bellow however it also filled with profound reflections and much ironic humor. It is certainly worth reading, but it is far from his best. For that you must go to 'Seize the Day' ' Herzog 'and various parts of many of his other works.