The Dangling Man is the first Saul Bellow novel that I read and it remains my favourite, closely followed by Seize The Day and The Dean’s December. As well as being great reads that firmly embed you, the reader, within the psychology of the central characters and their neuroses, because all of them have neuroses, it teaches you something important about how to create a world with words.
After you read someone like Bellow you begin to notice how other writers use far too many words to convey their points and how they do so in a manner that is not half so effective. The sketch on the edition I had, which is shown above, struck me as perfect for conveying an aesthetic that is also present in the writing — an economy of form used in a very evocative way. Bellow’s prose is lean — as lean as it can be without losing anything; it maintains focus, a sharp focus that is never obscured by verbosity. He reminded me of some of the European writers like Kafka and Dostoevsky — they have an attitude of say what you need to say and get out of there. And on that note I will leave you to go and find their books.