Books Saul Bellow A Theft

ISBN 13: 9780140119695

A Theft

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9780140119695: A Theft

Corporate executive Clara Velde has little patience with her fourth and current husband. She holds her passion for another man in an emerald ring that disappears repeatedly. Her attempts to recover the precious ring establish her as a genuine heroine.

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From Publishers Weekly:

The Nobel laureate's bold experiment here with a trade paperback original is a sonorous statement on the feasibility of the format as a vehicle for serious literature and may, indeed, encourage other notables to follow in his footsteps. Bellow's clever but tender novella is also his first book to feature a woman as its principal character. But the formidable Clara Velde is less an anomaly than a vintage Bellow protagonist in skirts. A fortyish executive of an international publishing group, Clara is "the czarina of fashion writing"; the breadwinner of her family, she is a devoted mother of three daughters, whose father is Clara's fourth husband, a colorless, underemployed couch potato. But like the uncle and nephew in More Die of Heartbreak , whose dignified existences are undermined by restless libidos, Clara's powerful facade is vulnerable to the demands of her heart. Two youthful love affairs gone sour had precipitated suicide attempts, and now she is unnerved by the theft of her emerald ring--an engagement ring from a brilliant man she never married but still adores--by the shifty boyfriend of her au pair Gina Wegman, a singularly incisive, young, upper-class Austrian who has ventured into the "Gogmagogsville" of New York City for excitement. Although Clara employs a private eye, this taut yet characteristically subtle tale is no whodunit; what is redeemed here is not chiefly tangible but Clara's sense of self. If the novella's ending is less than full-scale and his characters engage in the usual brand of "mental" conversations, Bellow is also the ever-perspicacious observer of the human condition and modern-day turmoil, who penetrates the soul of a character with a few nimble sentences. He writes, for example, of Clara's eldest, the needy, stout Lucy: "The two little skinny girls laughed at their sister. They scooped up their snickers in their hands while Lucy held herself like a Roman soldier. Her face was heated with boredom and grievances." 150,000 first printing; QPBC dual main selection; author tour.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Bellow decided to publish this novella as a paperback original after two magazines requested substantial cuts. Since the story of the theft of an emerald ring doesn't really start until some two-thirds of the way through, one can understand the magazine editors' rationale. But one doesn't read Bellow just for his plots; one reads him for his marvelous characterization, his verbal dexterity, his trenchant observations, and his philosophical speculations. Fine reading, this novella is also the most concise statement of the idea that has obsessed Bellow since winning the Nobel Prize: He writes not simply about the theft of a valuable ring but also about the theft of our basic humanity (or soul, as he would say) by the civilization that we, both East and West, have created. Vintage Bellow that deserves a place alongside Seize the Day or "The Silver Dish."-- Charles Michaud, Turner Free Lib., Randolph, Mass.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Saul Bellow
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