'We were friends, somehow. But in the end, somehow, he intended to be a mortal enemy. All the while that he was making the gestures of a close and precious friend he was fattening my soul in a coop till it was ready for killing.' Vital, exuberant, streetwise and philosophizing, Nobel Prize winner Saul Bellow is one of the undisputed masters of American prose. In this inspired novella an ageing man writes an apology for his rudeness to a librarian thirty-five years earlier, unleashing a dazzling, rancorous comic riff on growing old, regret, rudeness, smoking and 'the world's grandeur'.