March, 2012: The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow

(Book #23) A small group of us met at Rosalie’s home tonight to discuss The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow.  This was the One Book One Chicago choice for Fall of 2011, which earned it a spot on our 2012 list.  Rosalie copied the dinner menu of food that Mrs. Renling wanted Augie to know.  She served veal kidney in cognac sauce, a pork roast, potatoes, carrots and asparagus, and topped off the meal with a peach and apple flambé over ice cream.

We talked about the description of Augie that characterized him as ‘the kind of guy who fit into other people’s schemes’. That kind of guy may have had his beginning when the Russian border, Grandma Lausch told Augie exactly what to do and say when taking his mother to the dispensary.  I mentioned that every time a character is introduced, there is a great rush of description in a staccato sort of syntax.  The character comes to us fully formed.

We were joking about how one of the girls decided to skip to the last chapter to find some kind of resolution to Augie’s long string of adventures, only to find more of the same!  It isn’t really the kind of book any of us would have picked up to read on our own, but I’m glad One Book One Chicago encouraged us to take it on.