I just finished "Herzog" a few days ago and it's now in the list of my favorite books of all times.
Written by Saul Bellow in the '50s, it deals with the life of a man called Moses Herzog who is going through a middle life crisis.
At the brink of a second divorce as his beautiful but heartless wife has decided to live with Moses's one legged best friend instead taking away their precious little daughter, Herzog is quickly losing his brilliant academic mind to depression and anxiety. He writes long letters to a long and improbable list of people but never sends them.
The letters act a bit as a stream of consciousness where we see the sad circles his mind is caught in. And your hearts breaks as the sadness and disorientation seem to ooze through the pages.
The plot is actually rather thin.
Everything happens in Herzog's mind.
There are a lot of flashbacks where we have a glimpse of his brilliant life as a Jewish professor before the depression set in.
We encounter some really weird characters along the way. Valentine Gersbach being the vilest of them all. He was so horrible it was almost funny.
We read of a very well educated man, with a sensitive mind, slowly losing it as he loses everything he holds dear. All his knowledge of philosophy, literature, poetry, logic, politics, history are just not enough to help him make sense of himself.
Bellow takes us through the whole spectrum of human emotions in the nutshell of one man.
There are some great lines, great insights into human behavior through a great attention to detail.
I highly recommend it. If you've ever been depressed, sad or lost, you'll understand.
It's not about what you are, what you know, where you are, what you have.
It's about how you choose to see yourself and the people around you, and how much strength you're willing to put into it.
I will certainly be reading more of Saul Bellow's books!