Books: Saul Bellow: Seer with a Civil Heart

MR. SAMMLER'S PLANET by Saul Bellow. 313 pages. Viking. $6.95.

NOVELISTS have had less success than statesmen, if that is possible, in dealing with the ailments of the age. For one thing, they lack the statesman's surest strength, his reasonable chances of success by inadvertence. A novelist whose writing takes even the slightest notice of his society is obliged to make some sense of the times. That is his franchise, and fool luck will not help. He must be a seer or, at a minimum, the rarest sort of charlatan.

There is nothing of the charlatan in Saul Bellow, and perhaps it is...

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