Paul Taylor

Pontificating Away in the Spiritual Ice Age

More Die of Heartbreak

By Saul Bellow

Secker & Warburg 335 pp £10.95 order from our bookshop

Fans of Saul Bellow’s mordant animadversions on the modern condition will be glad to hear that he is still as deeply unimpressed with the way the planet is going as he was when he produced his last full-length novel, The Dean’s December, in 1982. No one (with the possible exception of Martin Amis, his most gifted admirer) writes with more savage uplift about the ways in which our Western throwaway, phone-in, made-for-TV societies tirelessly conspire to get a sensitive soul down. ‘Being on mood pills was one hundred per cent contemporary,’ comments Kenneth Trachtenberg, the narrator of Bellow’s new novel. Among other things which, one gathers, also qualify as being one hundred per cent contemporary are:

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