"The best novel to come out of America—or England—for a generation." —
V.S. Pritchett, The New York Review of Books
A Penguin Classic
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.
This Penguin Classics edition features an introduction by National Book Award winner Norman Rush.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Saul Bellow was praised for his vision, his ear for detail, his humor, and the masterful artistry of his prose. Born of Russian Jewish parents in Lachine, Quebec in 1915, he was raised in Chicago. He received his Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University in 1937, with honors in sociology and anthropology, and did graduate work at the University of Wisconsin. During the Second World War he served in the Merchant Marines.
His first two novels,
Dangling Man (1944) and
The Victim (1947) are penetrating, Kafka-like psychological studies. In 1948 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and spent two years in Paris and traveling in Europe, where he began his picaresque novel
The Adventures of Augie March, which went on to win the National Book Award for fiction in 1954. His later books of fiction include
Seize the Day (1956);
Henderson the Rain King (1959);
Mosby's Memoirs and Other Stories (1968);
Mr. Sammler's Planet (1970);
Humboldt's Gift (1975), which won the Pulitzer Prize;
The Dean's December (1982);
More Die of Heartbreak (1987);
The Bellarosa Connection (1989);
The Actual (1996);
Ravelstein (2000); and, most recently,
Collected Stories(2001). Bellow has also produced a prolific amount of non-fiction, collected in
To Jerusalem and Back, a personal and literary record of his sojourn in Israel during several months in 1975, and
It All Adds Up, a collection of memoirs and essays.
Bellow's many awards include the International Literary Prize for
Herzog, for which he became the first American to receive the prize; the Croix de Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, the highest literary distinction awarded by France to non-citizens; the B'nai B'rith Jewish Heritage Award for "excellence in Jewish Literature"; and America's Democratic Legacy Award of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, the first time this award has been made to a literary personage. In 1976 Bellow was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work."