Him With His Foot in His Mouth and Other Stories

By: Bellow, Saul

Price: $90.00

Quantity: 1 available

Family fiction and the fiction-of-ideas: these are the two competing concerns in Bellow's recent work. Here those seemingly contradictory roles-- the darkly comic memoirist, and the thorny essayist-- are on more rewarding display, occasionally even blending in a richly charming way. One story, "A Silver Dish," already much-anthologized and much-acclaimed, is the memoirist/ family side of Bellow, virtually undiluted: a 60-year-old South Chicago businessman reacts exuberantly to the death of his old father-- in a memory-montage that showcases Bellow's boisterous, visceral, ironic warmth. But, in other pieces, chunks of zesty family/friend reminiscence and personal psychology are shaded with cultural musings or implications. The brief, fragmentary "Zetland: By a Character Witness" recalls the early life of a Chicago intellectual/bohemian, rebelling against his old-fashioned Jewish family; the subtext is a gently mordant view of all intellectual idealism. In "Cousins," the narrator is a law-expert/celebrity who uses his influence to get a light sentence for his gangster-cousin Tanky; here, the inability to "extricate myself from the ties of Jewish cousinhood" leads to memories of other cousins, to anthropological puzzles, to the conflict between the "brainy" and the gutsy. And most effective of all in the weaving of earthy tale-spinning with meditation is the title story: narrator Harry, a 65-ish musicologist, who's hiding out from big legal troubles in Vancouver, is writing an apology to the long-ago victim of one of his many cruel wisecracks; he recounts the Balzac-like money/family mistakes which got him into his present mess; and, without strain or contrivance, this confession/self-analysis winds through such oddly relevant matters as Allen Ginsberg, the breeding of pit bulldogs, music vs. materialism, and Jewish assimilationism. The longest piece, "What Kind of Day Did You Have?", an affair between a youngish divorcee and a famous old art critic becomes a frame for wrestlings with Marxism, celebrity, and intellectual hucksterism. But much of this welcome gathering presents the restless Bellow voice in full cry--taut, colorful, Talmudic, and large-hearted.

Title: Him With His Foot in His Mouth and Other Stories

Author Name: Bellow, Saul

Categories: Signed,

Publisher: New York, Harper & Row: 1984

ISBN Number: 006015179X

ISBN Number 13: 9780060151799

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Very Good

Jacket Condition: Very Good

Type: Book

Inscription: Signed Saul Bellow

Seller ID: 22zck