Reviews of The Adventures of Augie March

“All of Chicago seems gathered into the book, and eventually all of America, and much of human history as well… One must love the book on artistic grounds – for its comedy, its generosity, its density, its linguistic materials – and also, still, for its hopefulness.”

The New Yorker

“With this teeming book Bellow returned a Dickensian richness to the American novel.”


“Augie March, a West-Side-Chicago Tom Jones, a Wilhelm Meister of the depression years, is a handsome and intelligent young man with what he himself describes as a ‘weak sense of consequence.’ He seems primarily moved by the need for love. One of his mistresses puts it more emphatically and indignantly. ‘You want people to pour love on you, and you soak it up and swallow it. You can’t get enough. And when another woman runs after you, you’ll go with her. You’re so happy when somebody begs you to oblige. You can’t stand up under flattery.’”

Robert Gorham Davis, The New York Times

“[Bellow’s] body of work is more capacious of imagination and language than anyone else’s… If there’s a candidate for the Great American Novel, I think this is it.”

Salman Rushdie, The Sunday Times (London)

The Adventures of Augie March is the great American Novel... Search no further.”

Martin Amis

“Unforgettable... he made readers all over the world feel that they had experienced the essence of that great city by Lake Michigan... The dean of American Jewish writers.”

Martin Rubin, The Washington Times

“There are sentences in the book whose effervescence, whose undercurrent of buoyancy leave one with the sense of so much going on, a theatrical, exhibitionistic, ardent prose tangle that lets in the dynamism of living without driving mentalness out… It’s a voice unbridled and intelligent both, going at full force and yet always sharp enough to sensibly size things up.”

Philip Roth, “Rereading Saul Bellow,” Shop Talk

“The best postwar American novel, The Adventures of Augie March magnificently terminates and fulfills the line of Melville, Twain, and Whitman.”

James Wood, The New Republic

“Funny, poignant, crowded with carnivalesque types and yet narrated in a voice that is lonely and simple, it is Bellow’s fat comic masterpiece.”

Observer (UK)

“Augie March is an impressive tour de force… Mr. Bellow deserves our admiration and gratitude for showing us the direction serious fiction must take if it is to come alive.”

Commentary Magazine