Saul Bellow - June 10, 1915 – April 5, 2005
In JCO’s Journal, for the period of time that she was selecting the BASS, mentions both Bellow and O’Connor.
It comes then without surprise that Bellow occupies the first slot in the book, and O’Connor the second. It would also seem that Oates probably had some say in this positioning knowing that a reader would get through a few of these stories before laying the volume aside, and Oates would want the reader to experience two of her favorite authors.
Bellow won the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature in 1976. During his acceptance speech he called on writers to be “beacons for civilization and awaken it from intellectual torpor.”
I find this to be an absolutely wonderful quotation.
Even so, I’m having trouble knowing what to think about Bellow. I am reading too much about what a wonderful writer he was, and JCO even set me up to discover a masterpiece when I opened BASS. I’ll admit that this is the first reading of Bellow that I can recall.
I must have read some other works by him...certainly. Problem is though; his stuff just didn’t stick with me.
A masterpiece I did not find in his work “A Silver Dish”. I struggled through this story. I was ready to have it leap off the page and welcome me into this volume of stories.
Well, I honestly believe that this story is the cause for me to once again fall waaaay behind in my writing and reading. I just didn’t feel the drive to pick up the book. I felt...in a way...betrayed.
I don’t even feel the need to go through the process of making comments about the story. I’ll just leave it and say that I was disappointed.
I’ll close with what Nabakov said about Bellow because I share the feeling:
Simply : "miserable mediocrity."
Score : 4 out of 10.