View Poll Results: Humboldt's Gift: Final Verdict

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  • * Waste of time. Wouldn't recommend.

    0 0%
  • ** Didn't like it much.

    0 0%
  • *** Average

    1 33.33%
  • **** It is a good book

    2 66.67%
  • ***** Liked it very much. Would strongly recommend it.

    0 0%
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Thread: February '15: Humboldt's Gift

  1. #16
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    My favourite passage so far:

    As I was meditating on Humboldt, the hall buzzer went off. I have a dark little hall where I press the button and get muffled shouts on the intercom from below. It was Ronald Stiles, the doorman. My ways, the arrangements of my life, diverted Stiles a lot. He was a skinny witty old Negro. He was, so to speak, in the semifinals of life. In his opinion, so was I. But I didn't seem to see it that way, for some strange white man's reason, and I continued to carry on as if it weren't yet time to think of death. "Plug in your telephone, Mr. Citrine. Do you read me? Your number-one lady friend is trying to reach you." Yesterday my car was bashed. Today my beautiful mistress couldn't get in touch. To him I was as good as a circus. At night Stiles's missus liked stories about me better than television. He told me so himself.
    Last edited by kev67; 03-02-2015 at 04:49 PM.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

  2. #17
    Registered User easy75's Avatar
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    ^ I liked that too.
    Well, I am down to the last 50 pages and I think I will miss old Charlie Citrine. He has sort of grown on me. So far I think Bellow did something pretty amazing with this book. I couldn't get a digital copy of it, so it feels like it has taken me forever to get through it. Now that I can see the end, I realize how much I've enjoyed it and how difficult it will be to change gears and get into something else.

  3. #18
    Registered User easy75's Avatar
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    Finished last night. Hopefully we will have a good discussion at some point. I liked the book. I am a sucker for a painstakingly well drawn character and Bellow delivers in spades on that front. Granted, the story isn't much of a story, as far as actual things happening goes, but there is a lot going on in the mind of Charles Citrine. The supporting cast of characters are believably ridiculous and ridiculously believable, and they certainly helped to keep me interested in the story. I loved Thaxter, and Cantabile, and Ulich, and of course Renata and the Senora. They come to life on the page and I think it is interesting that the first part of this thread prompted ideas of who might play who in a movie version of the book, which interestingly is something that the characters in the book do as well!
    Anyhow, happy reading and looking forward to some discussion.

  4. #19
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    I just gave up on Augie March about half way through - definite mid-book sag there. I seem to get on better with his shorter works - Dangling Man, Seize the Day, and Ravelstein were OK.

  5. #20
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    I still have over 100 pages to read.

    Although I have never watched Curb Your Enthusiasm, I can imagine Larry David as Charles Citrine, except that he is about ten years too old.

    Citrine is very forbearing. I don't like that Renata woman. As for Denise, his former wife... well, Citrine is much more even tempered than I am.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

  6. #21
    Registered User easy75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev67 View Post
    I still have over 100 pages to read.

    Although I have never watched Curb Your Enthusiasm, I can imagine Larry David as Charles Citrine, except that he is about ten years too old.

    Citrine is very forbearing. I don't like that Renata woman. As for Denise, his former wife... well, Citrine is much more even tempered than I am.
    Larry, at least on the show, is too mean to be Charles, although they do share a lot of the same hedonistic qualities. Larry definitely would have been more like you in the area of Denise. He wouldn't put up with that stuff. Lol.
    Yeah.... Renata. When I said I love the character, I meant that I appreciate her from a literary standpoint. If I met her, outside of thinking she was hot, I probably wouldn't care for her too much. She is a terribly transparent gold digger, and manipulator. And then there is her mother.... Yikes.

  7. #22
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    I am within the last fifty pages now. I am getting a little exasperated by Citrine now. It's all very well to mooch around Madrid, contemplating death, but I wish he would just declare himself bankrupt, and then get down to some work.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

  8. #23
    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    I finished it at last. For the first hundred-and-fifty pages, although it was not really my sort of thing, I thought it was so well written that it would be churlish not to give it 5 stars, but then I thought it glided for about another two hundred pages.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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