“There are writers, I believe, who benefit from constraint. This at least has been my experience with Saul Bellow, whose brilliance as a novelist is incontestable, but whose tendency to sprawl out in all directions, novelistically speaking, frustrates me sometimes when I read him. Case in point: Humboldt’s Gift is a masterpiece. It’s also kind of a mess, or at least I experienced it as such when I last read it a decade ago or so. It’s on an extended mental list of things I want to read again, someday, as soon as I have a spare moment.”
Emily St. John Mandel, on Saul Bellow’s novella The Bellarosa Connection.