Abe Ravelstein is a famously iconoclastic university professor who has died from AIDS; his close friend Chick is writing a memoir about him. As the story unfolds, we hear Ravelstein's (and Chick's) complex, challenging, often uproarious thoughts on mortality, history, art, sex, even vaudeville routines from the distant past. At the same time, we are drawn into a beautifully nuanced portrait of a rare and fascinating friendship. Deeply insightful and always moving, Ravelstein is an unforgettable journey through love and memory.
As an added bonus, when you purchase our Audible Modern Vanguard production of Saul Bellow's book, you'll also receive an exclusive Jim Atlas interview. This interview – where James Atlas interviews Azar Nafisi about the life and work of Saul Bellow – begins as soon as the audiobook ends.
"This book rings with laughter and joy....Ravelstein is an extraordinary character ." (
The Washington Post)"No contemporary of ours is more consistently brilliant and more defiantly risky than Saul Bellow." (
The New York Times Book Review)"His voice has the meticulous range and certainty of a cathedral choir. The wit is exquisitely mannered; the intelligence both fearless and elegant." (
The Boston Globe)"Amply rewarding, this late work from the Nobel laureate flourishes his inimitable linguistic virtuosity, combining intimations of mortality with gossipy tattle in a biting and enlightening narrative." (
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Essentially a true story.
The fact that it was about two real people. One being the author.
This book lead me on to get Prof Allan Bloom's book 'The closing of the American mind' here on Audible. And that book lead me on to many more audiobooks, firstly, 'Democracy in America' (1840) by Alexis de Toquville, then Will Durant's fantastic 'The Story of Philosophy' after that, book after book almost automatically suggested itself since they were cited in the three books above.
His performance of the main characters sound very like Saul Bellow and Allan Bloom. His reading in general is very good.
Ravelstein is Saul Bellow's final novel. Published in 2000, when Bellow was eighty-five years old, it received widespread critical acclaim. It tells the tale of a friendship between two university professors and the complications that animate their erotic and intellectual attachments in the face of impending death. The novel is a roman à clef, written in memoir-form. The narrator is in Paris with Abe Ravelstein, a renowned professor, and Nikki, his lover. Ravelstein asks him to write a memoir about him after he dies, because he has AIDS. After his death, the narrator and his wife go on holiday to the Caribbean. The narrator catches a tropical disease and flies back to the United States in convalescence. Eventually, on recuperation, he decides to write the memoir.The title character, Ravelstein, is based on the philosopher Allan Bloom, who taught alongside Bellow at the University of Chicago's Committee on Social Thought. Remembering Bloom in an interview, Bellow said, "Allan inhaled books and ideas the way the rest of us breathe air... People only want the factual truth. Well, the truth is that Allan was a very superior person, great-souled. When critics proclaim the death of the novel, I sometimes think they are really saying that there are no significant people to write about." But "Allan was certainly one."(ALL OF THE ABOVE IS FROM WIKIPEDIA)