This short novel only comes to 118 pages but I think it is great. Seize The Day is about ‘fading charmer’ Tommy Wilhelm, struggling with getting old, dealing with divorce, having a vain, successful father, failing in his career and living through financial failure. It is a classic from one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century that must be read.
The thing I love about this novel is the main character’s vulnerability is on show. All of his faults are spelled out to the reader, for example, ‘from his mother he had gotten sensitive feelings, a soft heart, a brooding nature, a tendency to be confused under pressure’ p25. To see a main male character described in such a way subverts the typical male stereotype and it let me know, as I wrote my main character that I was free to describe him warts and all.
I admire a novel that tries to right the wrongs of the world and gives great quotes that also manage to slot perfectly into the narrative, and Seize The Day does this. ‘The past is no good to us. The future is full of anxiety. Only the present is real-the here-and-now, Seize the day.’ p66. What a great quote. It sums up life so perfectly and gives reason to the title of the novel. I love it when titles appear in the text and that is done brilliantly.
‘Don’t marry suffering. Some people do. They get married to it, and sleep and eat together, just as husband and wife. If they go with joy they think it’s adultery.’ p98
Seize The Day is a novel about how bleak life is. It has it’s victims and it’s anti-heroes for which I love. It has a negative outlook on a lot of things and even though Faces of a Small City is not quite like that, I think that kind of tone kept my novel grounded, stopping it from being chick-lit and keeping it within the realms of possibility. Life is not perfect, love is not perfect. All does not end perfectly well, but we would not gain any lessons from it if it did.
above Saul Bellow – Great author, cool character
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