BOOKS: Knocking Away the Pigeons

In a nonfiction collection, Nobelist Saul Bellow is ornery

Saul Bellow's It All Adds Up (Viking; 327 pages; $24.95) adds up to a stimulating kvetch, a nonfiction Herzog. Like that novel's title character, Bellow shows himself in this collection of essays and criticism to be a great complainer and world worrier. He is, as the Herzog jacket copy described the book's hero 30 years ago, someone who "cannot keep from asking what he calls the 'piercing questions.' "

Now nearing his 80th birthday, Bellow remains America's most distinguished living writer, thickly bronzed by literary honors that include a Nobel Prize. But public monuments attract pigeons, in Bellow's case the flock...

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