I've just finished Herzog - a book that I meant to read five years ago. Let me begin by stating the obvious: this is a masterful novel. Narrative ingenuity, philosophical insight, cultural mayhem - it's all there, served with consistent (but always animated) prose. I must say, there's something about Bellow's novels which seem to outlast those of Roth. Maybe it's the writing itself which is superior; or maybe it's a more expansive vision of plot. Either way, I find that there exists in Bellow's work a certain intellectual gravity which is not always present in Roth's stories. And it's not that I mind Roth (in fact, I find his treatment of sex and sexuality to be unusually perceptive); it's just that, when it comes to style and narrative punch, I find myself drawn to the Nobel Laureate. The last word is reserved for Herzog (Penguin ed., 328):
"The explosions had become implosions, and where light once was darkness came, bit by bit."