Thursday, November 24, 2016

Henderson the Rain King - Saul Bellow

Henderson the Rain King
Title: Henderson the Rain King
Author: Saul Bellow
Publication Date: 1959
Pages: 352
Genre: Classic / Historical / Fiction
How I Found It: 100 Best Novels
Date Completed: 10/27/16

Summary: Henderson is a rich man who travels to Africa in hopes of finding contentment or adventure or a combination of both. Though he certainly finds adventure, one can debate the success of his search for deeper meaning.

What I Thought: Though thematically this book is very similar to others on the 100 Best Novels list, it is quite different in tone and style. I really enjoyed the laid-back character of Henderson. His levity brought a fun quality to the book that many other search-for-meaning books overshadow with their serious tone. 

That is not to say that Henderson's cheerful demeanor is always fitting to his situation. He gets himself into some pretty serious scrapes in Africa. In the midst of them all, he continues to reflect back on his life and think of his wife and family. He seems to be one of those people who can charm just about anyone, yet not in a way which you resent. I found him to be a lovable character, though I do not think we would get along in practically. We are far too different. Still, I enjoyed reading about his journey. 

The book is a nice diversion from some of the more morose books on the list. This one, despite its serious content at times, still had an element of Henderson's care-free nature infused into the prose. Just as with Henderson, the depth and searching lurks beneath the surface and is there if you dig deep enough. 

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Maybe at some point

A Reduced Review: The verdict is still out on how much Henderson grew during his adventurous trip to Africa, but the journey is fun.

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