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The Adventures of Augie March (1953)

by Saul Bellow

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,250602,802 (3.86)2 / 203
This grand-scale heroic comedy tells the story of the exuberant young Augie, a poor Chicago boy growing up during the Depression. While his neighborhood friends all settle down into their various chosen professions, Augie, as particular as an aristocrat, demands a special destiny. He latches on to a wild succession of occupations, proudly rejecting each one as too limiting. It is not until he tangles with a glamorous perfectionist named Thea, a huntress with a trained eagle, that his independence is seriously threatened. Luckily, his nature, like the eagle's, breaks down under the strain. He goes on to recruit himself to even more outlandish projects, but always ducks out in time to continue improvising his unconventional career.… (more)
  1. 11
    Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These sprawling novels feature an irrepressible and memorable protagonist. The Adventures of Augie March is set in the 1920s and Depression-era America; Middlesex tells the family history -- spanning the 20th century -- of a hermaphroditic main character.… (more)
  2. 00
    This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Young men coming of age in different eras of 20th Century America.
  3. 00
    David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Bildungsroman: the education of a young man.

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English (58)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (60)
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
- easy to read
- it's long, wow, it's long
- like a decompressed Cormac McCarthy. Mr McCarthy would have studied Bellow's work closely. Bellow is much closer Cormac McCarthy that is Faulkner.
- lots of great lines, great aphorisms and ideas.
- his descriptions are not over-long. He just quickly sets detailed scenes and tries to do it in one or two sentences
- doesn't really go anywhere.
- I now know more about Augie March than about 2/3 of the people I have ever met. ( )
  GirlMeetsTractor | Mar 22, 2020 |
Manic, wordy, beautiful, almost successful attempt at the Great American Novel. Sometimes Bellow's jazzy, Beat-inflected language irritated me, and sometimes I was enraptured. I can imagine Bellow writing this in a frenzy on a roll of toilet paper, in the same way that Kerouac wrote [b: On the Road|6288|The Road|Cormac McCarthy|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1439197219s/6288.jpg|3355573], though I am almost certain he didn't.

I enjoyed the Audible version; although the inability to go back after the fact and savor language is a downside of an audiobook, I don't think that I would have had the patience to read every word if I had been reading a physical book. But that enforced patience (I listened to it on 1x speed, which I reserve only for books which I love) allowed me to savor Bellow's poetry.

I enjoyed Augie's adventures all over Chicago, Mexico and France, but maybe picaresque novels create a little bit of an emotional distance. There is no sustained plot which allows you to really love all of the characters... I am not sure about that. [b: Don Quixote|3836|Don Quixote|Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1364958765s/3836.jpg|121842] is one of my favorites, but maybe that is just in a different class. ( )
  Robert_Musil | Dec 15, 2019 |
Rated: B+
I love Saul Bellow. First read Henderson, the Rain King; now this book. Written in the first person narrative, his descriptions and references are picturesque taking Augie from childhood in Chicago in the 1920's to after WWII world travel. Just a fascinating montage of scenes and adventures. Highly recommended. The author is simply brilliant and masterful with words. ( )
  jmcdbooks | Oct 20, 2019 |
The second of four great American novels I am committed to reading this year (Moby-Dick was the first, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn next), Augie March is noteworthy for me as a Chicagoan for its scenes on the South Side, the rough and tumble realism of a great Chicago author and his connection to Hyde Park. In an unusual twist, I saw the recent play in Hyde Park at Court Theatre before reading the book and seeing the play enhanced my enjoyment of the book---and the book was better. ( )
1 vote Mark.Kosminskas | Aug 8, 2019 |
This novel was decent, but I felt the scope was a bit too wide and the prose not clear enough to give it a higher rating. The story was in the style of the Bildungsroman style that appeared, much earlier in Europe, except it was set in the United States instead. It is a novel of growth and self-exploration- as much for Bellow as for the reader themselves. Overall, a satisfactory book, but one that I only enjoyed in moderation.

3 stars. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Jun 16, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
The Adventures of Augie March is for me the great creation myth of twentieth century American literature.

» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Saul Bellowprimary authorall editionscalculated
Trilling, LionelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my father
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I am an American, Chicago born–Chicago, that somber city–and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted; and sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent.
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Average: (3.86)
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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