The Actual

The Actual

A Novella

Introduction by: Joseph O’Neill

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780143105848
  • 96 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


In this superb work of fiction, Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow writes comically and wisely about the tenacious claims of first love. Harry Trellman, an aging, astute businessman, has never belonged anywhere and is as awkward in his human attachments as he is gifted in observing the people around him. But Harry?s observational talents have not gone unnoticed by ?trillionaire? Sigmund Adletsky, who retains Harry as his advisor. Soon the old man discovers Harry?s intense forty-year passion for a twice-divorced interior designer, Amy Wustrin. At the exhumation and reburial of her husband, Harry is provided, thanks to Sigmund, perhaps the final means for disclosing feelings amassed over a lifetime. Written late in Bellow?s career, The Actual is a maestro?s dissection of the affairs of the heart.


“A mature distillation of Mr. Bellow’s work . . . a gem.”
-The New York Times

” The work of a great master still locked in unequal combat with Eros and Time.”
-The New York Times Book Review

” [A] wonderful book . . . fully worthy of a place in its author’s vastly esteemed oeuvre.”
-Chicago Tribune