Saul Bellow has died at 89

Mel Gussow and Charles McGrath in the New York Times:

BellowSaul Bellow, the Nobel laureate and self-proclaimed historian of society whose fictional heroes – and whose scathing, unrelenting and darkly comic examination of their struggle for meaning – gave new immediacy to the American novel in the second half of the 20th century, died yesterday at his home in Brookline, Mass. He was 89.

Bellow’s death saddens me.  More from the NYT obit here.  I remember reading about an evening at Bellow’s house (in Martin Amis’s memoir Experience), where Amis repeatedly kicks Christopher Hitchens on the shins under the table to make him stop defending Edward Said to an increasingly displeased Mr. & Mrs. Bellow. There’s a bit of that here, and I expect that both Amis and the Hitch will be writing their public goodbyes to Bellow soon, which I shall link to when it happens.

Also, just as a quick start on what I hope will be more comprehensive coverage of Bellow at 3 Quarks, Hitchens reviewed Ravelstein in the London Review of Books here.