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Herzog on abuse

August 12, 2016

HerzogHerzog by Saul Bellow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bellow wrote things in the 1960s one couldn’t write now, without howls of protest, more’s the pity. Here’s an example:

‘”My childhood was a grotesque nightmare,” [Madeleine] went on. “I was bullied, assaulted, ab-ab-ab … ” she stammered.

‘”Abused?”

‘She nodded. She had told [Herzog] this before. He could not bring this sexual secret of hers to light.

‘”It was a grown man,” she said. “He paid me to keep it quiet.”

‘”Who was he?”

‘Her eyes were sullenly full and her pretty mouth desperately vengeful but silent.

‘”It happens to many, many people,” he said. “Can’t base a whole life on that. It doesn’t mean that much.”‘

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