Thursday, April 07, 2005

Another Death

PSAYINGS.5G.14-15. The writer Saul Bellow has died. He wrote beautifully, he stopped writing when he felt he had nothing more to add, and if this piece is to be believed, he arrived finally at happiness.

Janis Freedman eventually began working part-time as Bellow's secretary and, several years after I graduated, they stunned everyone by getting married.

He was more than four decades older than she, and you only need read the vicious portraits of his ex-wives in his novels to see how unsuccessful he had been at the marriage game.

But this unconventional union was the one that finally took. In his final book, Bellow paints a blissful portrait of his marriage to Janis, who gave birth five years ago to his only daughter.

Bellow's great subject as a novelist was the human yearning for love and meaning. It turned out that, like the protagonist of his great 1970 novel "Mr. Sammler's Planet," Bellow had to wait until his 70s until he could find the love and meaning in his own life that had so long eluded him.

These are rare achievements for twentieth century writers. Congratulations, Mr. Bellow, and Godspeed.

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