62 pages 2 hours read

Saul Bellow

The Adventures of Augie March

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1953

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Important Quotes

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“But her memory specialized in misdemeanors and offenses, which were as ineradicable from her brain as the patrician wrinkle was between her eyes, and her dissatisfaction was an element and a part of nature.”

(Chapter 2, Page 42)

Grandma Lausch is at the center of Augie’s early life. Her character is not defined by the chores and tasks people perform for her but by her capacity to remember slights and grievances. She builds a massive library of such infractions, ready to weaponize them against anyone who might try to cross her. Even without much in the way of material wealth, she builds a fortune of misgivings that she can turn to her benefit. Her power lies in her ability to craft anything from nothing.

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“There he was able to see the celebrities in their furs or stetsons and alpacunas, going free in the midst of their toted luggage, always more proud or more melancholy or more affable or more lined than they were represented.”

(Chapter 3, Page 33)

Simon’s job on the newsstand at a busy station introduces him to another world. He comes face to face with “celebrities,” people who can afford the lifestyle that seems so distant and remote to Augie and Simon when they are young men. Grandma Lausch’s control over the family is eroding because Simon is beginning to learn of the world that exists beyond her dominion. He is beginning to question—in spite of the help she provides—whether her worldview will ever allow him to cross over into the world of the rich and powerful people who throng through the station.