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With his uncanny wit and perception, Saul Bellow tells the story of Charlie Citrine, a young man whose life is reaching a critical moment. Over several years, Charlie’s almost obsessive love of literature has led him into a deep friendship with the renowned poet Von Humboldt Fleisher, and when Humboldt dies, the young man’s life rapidly begins to unravel. A stalling career and an ugly divorce feed Charlie’s instability, and he engages in dubious friendships and an unwise liaison with the wrong woman. Amidst the chaos of a life in shambles, Charlie emerges by virtue of a legacy left by his departed companion, a legacy that offers him a glimpse of a new trajectory.