Ten Matildas One of those I love passionatelyAlong the way Bellow paints
Yet Another Wonderful Portrait another wonderful portrait Chicago with its grittiness its political corruption its neighborhoods skycrapers and expressways the university where he taught Unfortunately for some reason he pretends this is not Chicago but some other midwestern city much like Chicago which is disorienting Rating this is extremely difficult Looking at it as a whole I think it is of an OK than a good read I wanted to figure out what the book was saying This is what kept me reading You cannot view spoilergo against our nature You must follow our instincts Education and book knowledge goes only so far hide spoiler The novel More Die of Heartbreak is a dark intellectual satire written in Saul Bellow s idiosyncratic highbrow style It is a story of two modest savants an uncle and his nephew According to one of his colleagues and colleagues are generally the last to say such things Benn was a botanist of a high level of distinction I don t suppose that this will cut much ice with most people Why should they care about the histogenesis of the leaf or adventitious roots I wouldn t myself if it hadn t been for Uncle Scientists Unless they do cancer research or guide ou through the universe on for Uncle Scientists Unless they do cancer research or guide ou through the universe on like Carl Sagan what is there to them The public wants heart transplants it wants a cure for AIDS reversals of senility It doesn t care a hoot for plant structures and why should it Sure it can tolerate the people who study them A powerful society can always afford a few such types They re relatively inexpensive too It who study them A powerful society can always afford a few such types They re relatively inexpensive too It to keep two convicts in Stateville than one botanist in his chair But convicts offer much in the way of excitement riot and arson in the prisons garroting a guard driving a stake through the warden s headThat s an uncle a shy widowed botanistBeing busy fully booked having a flooded mental switchboard night and day seems necessary for self respect in certain circles I have so many irons in the fire that if I had a hundred fingers I d burn them all Like my father before me I do lots of traveling Less than Uncle Benn who is a demon traveler himself but far too much Knowledge of Russian will get ou into politics on the dark side if Painting Landscapes from Your Imagination you have a taste for thinkingou re behind the scenes So many institutes intelligence agencies consultantships I could do a conference a week if I wanted toAnd that s a nephew a humble philologist connoisseur of Russian culture of the turn of the century and the narrator of the storyThe uncle and his nephew are close they seem to have no secrets to keep from each other Unexpectedly unbeknownst to his nephew the uncle marries the woman from a rich familyBotany was the big thing Yet it had a rival which was female sexuality He couldn t leave the women alone When he traveled around the world his professional cover was roots leaves stems and flowers but actually there was a rival force of great strength Part of his Eros had been detached from plants and switched to girls And what girls A phoenix who runs after arsonists was my spontaneous and startling thought Burnt to the ground reincarnated from the ashes And after all every return of desire is a form of reincarnationThe world of corrupted love the world of corrupted morals the world of corrupted politics the scientists find themselves in the alien milieu they are like a pair of katydids fallen into a pond full of frogsWalking a straight road one should stick to what one knows a single step sideways and one will be lost in the world of falsehood ARE YOU UNHAPPY DARLING MORTICIA OH YES YES COMPLETELY Uncle Benn s favourite Charles Addams Cartoon uoted. The door to a flood of new torments As Kenneth grapples with his own problems involving his unusual lady friend Treckie the two men try to figure out why gifted and intelligent people invariably find themselves knee deep in the garbage of a personal life .
REVIEW More Die of HeartbreakInes of the Wasteland at the Faculty Club over lunchinto Yiddish This is Saul Bellow at his best witty provocative urbane and wise all rolled up in one rollicking plot Unlike in some of Bellow s other novels where plot takes a back seat to character this novel offers a compelling plot that keeps Lippenbekenntnisse you breathlessly turning the pages to find out what comes next Somehow I had missed this novel when it came out way back when and now I m itching to read of Bellow s novels that somehow escaped my attention Read from March 14 18 2017Reviewed March 19 2017Shelved October 12 2010 More Die of Heartbreak is a novel of ideas which also manages to be a novel about vaginas Our highly skilled writers can pull this off The Magic Mountain was a novel of ideas which was also a novel about lungsThe first person narrator Kenneth Trachtenberg is a 35ear old Russian literature professor who grew up in Paris with a philandering father amid dinners with Alexander Koj ve He feels of a kinship with his Uncle Benn a botanist at a midwestern university and moves to the same school The focus of the novel is Uncle s failed romantic relationships after his wife s death in particular his marriage to the much ounger beautiful and wealthy Matilda Layamon Kenneth would like to marry the flighty mother of his toddler daughter a woman who likes to be bruised forming a secondary plotline along with Kenneth and Uncle s attempts to get some money out of another elderly uncle who sold a family plot of land where an enormous skycraper was subseuently built bilking the relatives out of millionsIn the Midwest minds are slower Uncle tells Kenneth whose thoughts run to Karl Popper and Hegel Swedenborg and William Blake while Uncle s reside with arctic lichens But both men can t stop thinking about the female morphology The kind of woman Kenneth prefers is built closer to the ground For my taste Matilda had too much elevation To hold nothing back I kept wondering How long do those legs go on and where and how do they attach to the trunk what happens at the point of attachment You ve got no truth to life if ou omit such masculine conjectures and ou will see that even Uncle for all his vegetable reveries had entertained similar picturesMatilda s father a doctor had also given her anatomy a great deal of thought At an expensive lunch he tells Uncle I ve always been curious about Matilda s biology In the delivery room when she was born and I curious about Matilda s biology In the delivery room when she was born and I this well we physicians had to puzzle over the baby Was it a boy or a girlYou ve got to be joking said BennI m only saying that at first nobody was exactly sure Some kids are smooth and beautiful at birth others look as if they were delivered by an avalancheUncle is subjected to much than just talk about female genitals In Kyoto he and Kenneth are taken to a strip club where the women float above the rapt silent crowd in plexiglas cages dilating themselves with their fingers This experience leaves Uncle shaken and it is soon followed by one where he visits Dr Layamon at his hospital Matilda s father puts him in a white lab coat and takes him on rounds where all his elderly female patients with hip injuries obligingly reveal their mounds of Venus Uncle begins to have arrhythmia as a result of Layamon s prankIn a movie theater
watching Psycho with Matilda Uncle develops a sudden association of her shoulders with Anthony Perkins It is jarringPsycho with Matilda Uncle develops a sudden association of her shoulders with Anthony Perkins It is jarring only he can avoid views of her shoulders perhaps the marriage will be a success But several months later he cries to Kenneth Why are Matilda s breasts so far apart It turns out that perhaps Uncle isn t ready for love Hit me on the head with a hammer and I see. Im around the world Benn a restless spirit has not been able to satisfy his longings after his first marriage and lives from affair to affair and from bliss to breakdown Imagining that a settled existence will end his anguish Benn ties the knot again opening. .
This book started out very slow but ended up wonderful It s really the story of two men an uncle and his nephew who have a wonderful relationship where they both understand each other and respect each other and communicate on every
level intellectual social emotional etc The plot which doesn t emerge until about halfway through the bookintellectual social emotional etc The plot which doesn t emerge until about halfway through the book to do with the two women they ve become entwined with the uncle with a rich ounger wife to do with the two women they ve become entwined with the uncle with a rich Keto Diet for Beginners: The Keto Diet Cookbook with Quick and Healthy Recipes incl. 30 Days Weight Loss Plan younger wife family is using him in a get rich get richer really they already have money uick scheme the nephew with This is a hard novel to get into There is the usual Bellovian intellectual overload to be got through and the eccentricities of the characters are something of a barrier And then there s the feeling that maybe we ve seen Bellow explore the male incomprehension of women once too often But onceou re into it and have worked out the various relationships and conflicts it s a rewarding novel not least because it is often very funny It s a novel about a man and his uncle I don t recall having seen that central relationship in a novel before except maybe Tristram Shandy Kenneth Trachtenberg is the son Benn Crader never had and Benn is the father Kenneth perhaps wishes he had had But there is something a smidge homoerotic about their closeness too Since this is Bellow we re talking about both are intellectuals Benn is a famous botanist whose only truly passionate relationship is with plants Kenneth is a junior academic specializing in Russian studies Benn is a widower remarrying after Wachten op Apollo years of the solitary life Kenneth has a daughter by a woman who won t marry him And much of the novel deals with the very peculiar relationships that each has with women who seem to fling themselves at these very odd men The central plot deals with Benn s relationship with hisounger beautiful second wife Matilda who seems to have married him primarily for his celebrity she envisions herself presiding over a salon but also because there is a chance that he can become a millionaire That involves winning over a shady politician who also happens to Benn s uncle there are layers of avuncularity in the novel and who may have cheated Benn and his sister Kenneth s mother there are layers of avuncularity in the novel and who may have cheated Benn and his sister Kenneth s mother of a fortune Everybody in the novel wants something Kenneth wants to marry the mother of his daughter except Benn who just wants to be left alone with his plants And in the course of working things out Bellow gives us reflections on sex on death on marriage on botany on being Jewish on Europe and America on academia on law and politics and on the movie Psycho This is another book that is hard to get into at first I think that the beginning of this book is filled with a lot of academic philosophy in the guise of horticulture that it is hard to read the underlying message to love and humanity but in the end Bellow ties all of it together in one fell swoop A great book It is when I finish marvelous books like this that I miss my father and mother most I would so like to share my reading experience with them After all they opened my eyes to the wonderful world of reading Don t think this is uite as good as his other earlier novella Seize the Day But I read them so far apart and never taught this one though I did Carpe Diem several times always translated the whole book into Latin NOT Also taught his Mr Sammler which I consider one of the best novels ever written and certainly the best by my PhD advisor s best friend Pic of Leonard Unger and Saul Bellow in Rolling Stone Leonard cracking up Saul The University of Minnesota school culture held that Saul and Leonard a TS Eliot expert among other writers translated the first four Kenneth Trachtenberg the witty and eccentric narrator of More Die of Heartbreak has left his native Paris for the Midwest He has come to be near his beloved uncle the world renowned botanist Benn Crader self described plant visionary While his studies take ,