Very different styles of writing. Both books were excellent.
Herzog was a cataloging of Bellows brilliance; Bellow gave Herzog a powerful
intellect, and was able to back him up. I remember an English teacher,
somewhere along the line, talking about writers, and about characters who were
geniuses. How, if the writer himself was not a genius, then his character
wouldn't be either. The compare and contrast was between Shakespeare (and his
Hamlet, MacBeth, et. al.) and Conan Doyle and his numnutz Sherlock Holmes (it's
elementary, Dear Watson - elementary is right).
Slaughterhouse Five was an easy read. It's language and sentence structure was
simple, and as I was reading it, I said to myself, "I could write this" but of
course I can't. And that's the real brilliance of it. Making the complex seem
I always felt Betrand Russell was like that as an author, explaining complex
ideas so simply that anyone can understand.
But now that I blew through Slaughterhouse Five in one day, I have one less book
available to get me through this contract. One more dead book. And so it goes.