Books: Some People Come Back Like Hecuba

"The episodes in Mr. Sammler." said Saul Bellow "are meant to be typical of the madness in New York City middle-class life. But," he adds with characteristic low-key irony, "I may be a little behind."

The comment, like the book itself, underlines the fact that in some ways this century has made Bellow a profoundly conservative man. "That was one of the things I was trying to say in Herzog, too," Bellow admitted to TIME Correspondent Martha Duffy. "Today you can simply be distracted to death. Tearing the self apart has become a social duty."...

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