Literature professor and narrator Chick talks about the life and obsessions of his good friend Abe Ravelstein, a colleague at the Chicago university where both of them have taught. Chick's marriage to a fascinating, beautiful, but distant physics professor from Eastern Europe is unraveling, while Ravelstein, a closeted gay with a devoted Chinese companion, enjoys the pleasures of money after writing a bestselling book at Chick's urging. Many powerful men in government have been Ravelstein's students, and they keep in touch with him, sharing ideas and gossip. This 2000 novel is apparently a thinly-veiled portrait, almost a memoir, of Bellow's good friend Alan Bloom, author of _The Closing of the American Mind_. It doesn't have a lot of forward plot movement, and may seem a bit aimless and gossipy, but there's a lot of fine writing and wisdom in it.
This report prepared by David Loftus