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Listening to the Silence

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The Owl Killers
Karen Maitland
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Daniel James Brown
Cloud Atlas
David Mitchell

The Actual

The Actual - Saul  Bellow I like to think that I'm fairly well read. Some might even call me a book snob. Many of my favorite authors are those that others dislike because they are too difficult or too literary or too ~insert witty complaint here~. That said, I didn't get this novel. I mean I understand that it was about the abiding love the protagonist had for his high school girlfriend, a love that endured his moves to China and Burma, his failed marriage, her two failed marriages and forty years. However, the story read as it was about so much more than that and that is where Bellow lost me.

I'm really struggling to put into words how I felt about this novel. It was beautifully written and the underlying theme was easy to decipher, but I just can't shake the thought that I'm missing something. It actually puts me off reading other novels by Bellows. I'm afraid that if I'm stymied by this, his shortest offering, that his longer novels will be completely outside of my comprehension. I know he's a great author and I know this novel is great, so it must be me that is the problem in this equation. Perhaps I will give Bellow another try in a couple years when I have put a little more of my life behind me.