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The Victim by Saul Bellow

The Victim (1947)

by Saul Bellow

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6741120,275 (3.41)21



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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
St. Barts 2018 #9 - A rather bizarre book to end up my vacation reading for this year. Lots of Jewish cultural thinking here, some of which is bigoted against that thinking. A very weird scenario where our leading man Asa Leventhal is a minor crank in the machinery of a trade magazine in NYC and inadvertently, creates tension at a job interview that results in someone else losing their job, and ultimately their whole existence.....at least that is what is proposed to Leventhal, and the absurd notion that he is obligated to make it right....how, we don't know. Leventhal, while innocent of any negative intention, and initially unwilling to take this accusation seriously, eventually buys into his accused role and the accuser sort of takes over his life......and it must be some underlying insecurity that never allows him to say what really needs to be said, and end this ridiculous, destructive force in his life....thus, he becomes the victim of the initial victim. The philosophical ramblings lost me several times, and while the protagonist Allbee is very unpleasant, frankly i felt similarly about Leventhal.....none of these people would ever stay more than a few minutes in my life.....so this was hard to get through......i just could not care for these people the way i wanted to......leaving me to wonder what it really is all about.....and i continue to think such.....which is why it is 2 1/2 stars and not just 2. Proceed with caution on this. I will now read other reviews and see if i've once again completely missed the boat.... ( )
  jeffome | Jan 23, 2018 |
"Leventhal is a natural victim; a man uncertain of himself, never free from the nagging suspicion that the other guy might be right. . . . "
  MerrittGibsonLibrary | Aug 23, 2016 |
This book was very gripping and had an air of moral depth. Bellow asks the question: How much do we owe our fellow man when he is down and out? It is a book about how human beings relate to one another. The language is impressively beautiful and I enjoyed it very much. I look forward to reading another book by Bellow in the near future. ( )
1 vote EadieB | Jan 19, 2016 |
The Victim is mind-blowingly well-written; and the characters and events therein are described so succinctly, with hyper-realism. The character development, exploration of defense mechanisms and psychology is practically unique. However, the story itself, that is the events which transpire, are only moderately interesting. I certainly enjoyed this page-turner. ( )
1 vote A.J.B. | Jun 20, 2013 |
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It is related, O auspicious King, that there was a merchant of the merchants that had much wealth, and business in various cities. Now on a day he mounted horse and went forth to recover monies in certain towns, and the heat oppressed him; so he sat beneath a tree and, putting his hand into his saddle-bags, he took thence some broken bread and dried dates and began to break fast. When he had ended eating the dates he threw away the stones with force and lo! an Ifrit appeared, huge of stature and brandishing a drawn sword, wherewith he approached the merchant and said, "Stand up that I may slay thee even as thou slewest my son!" Asked the merchant, "How have I slain thy son?" and he answered, " When thou atest dates and threwest away the stones they struck my son full in the breast as he was walking by, so that he died forthwith."

"The Tale of the Trader and the Jinni"
from Thousand and One Nights
Be that as it may, now it was that upon the rocking waters of the ocean the human face began to reveal itself; the sea appeared paved with innumerable faces, upturned to the heavens; faces, imploring, wrathful, despairing;faces that surged upward by thousands, by myriads, by generations...

De Quincey, The Pains of Opium

To my friend Paolo Milano
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On some nights New York is as hot as Bangkok.
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Book description
In this unique noir masterpiece by the incomparable Saul Bellow, a young man is sucked into the mysterious, heat-filled vortex of New York City. Asa Leventhal, a temporary bachelor with his wife away on a visit to her mother, attempts to find relief from a Gotham heat wave, only to be accosted in the park by a down-at-the-heels stranger who accuses Leventhal of ruining his life. Unable to shake the stranger loose, Leventhal is led by his own self-doubts and suspicions into a nightmare of paranoia and fear.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140189386, Mass Market Paperback)

Bellow's second novel charts the descent into paranoia of Asa Leventhal, sub-editor of a trade magazine. With his wife away visiting her mother, Asa is alone, but not for long. His sister-in-law summons him to Staten Island to help with his sick nephew. Other demands mount, and readers witness a man losing control.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:00 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Asa Leventhal ... is accosted in a park near his home by a down-at-the-heels stranger who accuses him of ruining his life ... Leventhal gradually succumbs to the man's story and comes to believe that he has, in fact, caused the man irreparable damage ... [he] descends into a nightmare of paranoia and fear"--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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