I started Saul Bellow’s Mr. Sammler’s Planet February 6. Bellow’s one of my favorite writers and I was looking forward to a story I hadn’t read. I picked it up and put it down again after again. Often weeks went by when I didn’t pick it up.
Mr. Sammler survived the Holocaust and went on to become a fairly successful professor in New York. The novel’s a slice of life as he runs across a wide array of relatives and associates who aggravate him. He’s perceptive and erudite. The main plot involves him having to track down a colleague’s manuscript and he has to go from one person to the next and they all have messy lives. He muses a lot about all these people, whom he analyzes ad nauseam.
After months of trying to get into this book, I’ve given up. While I admit that Bellow always has good style, but I wasn’t drawn to any of the characters and their plight didn’t grab me. As I was half way through the book, I didn’t think it was worth spending more time on so I’ve abounded it.
If you want to try Saul Bellow, start with The Adventures of Augie March. That’s quite a ride.