Whatever had come over him during these last months, the spell, really seemed to be passing, really going. He set down his hat, with the roses and daylilies, on the half-painted piano, and went into his study, carrying the wine bottles in one hand like a pair of Indian clubs. Walking over notes and papers, he lay down on his Recamier couch. As he strechted out, he took a long breath, and then he lay, looking at the mesh of the screen, pulled loose by vines, and listening to the steady scratching of Mrs Tuttle’s broom. He wanted to tell her to sprinkle the floor. She was raising too much dust. In a few minutes he would call down to her, ‘Damp it down, Mrs Tuttle. There’s water in the sink.’ But not just yet. At this time he had no messages for anyone. Nothing. Not a single word.
(Penguin Books, 1971; first published in 1964)
And so ends Saul Bellow’s famous novel “Herzog”.He was born in Canada in 1915 and grew up in Chicago. He first drew attention with “Dangling Man” (1944), then rose to fame with “The Adventures of Augie March” and much later “Herzog” and “Seize the Day”. Saul Bellow died in 2005.
Actually, I read a Dutch translation of this novel, early in the Seventies , when I was still a student at the University of Leuven, Belgium. That Dutch copy has disappeared from our library or it might still be in a box in the attic, forever waiting to be unpacked. Time flies by.