The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Saul Bellow Dead at 89

Saul Bellow (1915-2005)

It has not been my intention, even lately, to turn this thing into The Death Blog, but I learned today that Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow, one of the few novelists whose entire output is worth reading, had died of natural causes at age 89, and I just can't let the moment pass without paying some small attention to it in these pages.

Here are three links to flesh out the dimensions of our loss (and if you think I'm engaging in hyperbole by using that word, you've obviously never read one of his novels):

The Reuters News Service account.

An appreciation by Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times
(registration required).

An appreciation by David Kipen in the San Francisco Chronicle.


Rob said...

Damn. One of the greats has passed. I had been avoiding the all pope all the time news lately, so I just found out. I would much rather a huge crowd paying their respects to M. Bellows, but I'll take a few well written appreciations.


swac said...

Bizzare...they were talking about his death on CBC just as I clicked on the page...a major loss to literature (and I had no idea he was Canadian).