Humboldt`s Gift
book — USA — 1975

I have something with those Nobel prize winners - I don`t like them much. Out of more than 100 recipients of this prestiguous award I`m not all familiar with the work of more than 50 writers, while only selected few of those whom I know I like. Those would include Knut Hamsun (more or less), Hermann Hesse (more or less), William Folkner (more or less), Albert Camus (more or less), Samuel Beckett (much) and Gabriel García Márquez. Saul Bellow won`t be joinging this list, as far as I can tell at the moment. First, I found "Humboldt`s Gift" to be rather boring. Second, the story line was pretty thin. Third, most of the characters weren`t really evolved (especially that goes for Humboldt, who might have been depicted much more insightful). Fourth, I found Bellow`s writing about sex quite repelling. About the story: Charlie Citrine (the first person teller) is a successful writer, although he hasn`t been particulary successful lately. His ex-wife is sueing him all the time and taking more and more money away, so he`s not far from being broke at the moment. His car is destructed by a mobster whom he owes some money after an unfair card game. He has a young girlfriend who wants to get married to him. And he once was a friend to the late Humboldt Fleischer, a poet who was very popular once but got crazy on booze later. Humboldt`s gift is an idea for a film that the dead poet has left to Charlie and to Humboldt`s own widow. The story mostly evolves around Charlies life and his memories of Humboldt (who by the way thought of Charlie being a treacher who had sold out their friendship but that was because of Humboldt himself being one card short of a full deck, if you know what I mean). Then there`s a lot of things going on with that gangster figure, who after receiving his money from Charlie suddenly turns into a friend and plans various schemes for Charlie to regain his financial status. The whole thing seems very, very pointless to me. It`s realism without a clear story, it`s not particulary poetic, it has quite a lot of useless mentioning of Jewty, like I cared for this subject at all. And what I also don`t like in this book is depiction how cool the leading character (based upon the author of course) is about women and how active his sex life still is (at the age of 60, yuck!). In the end it`s just a book of 470 pages where little goes on and which is hard for one to read till the end.
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