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(From Guardian Unlimited)
"Death," wrote Saul Bellow in his 1975 novel Humboldt's Gift , "is the dark backing a mirror needs if we are to see anything." And though there is a literal darkness to his 1990 short story Something to Remember Me By , it is the figurative darkness of the earlier aphorism the Bellow seems to be exploring over the dozen or so pages that make up this later work.
Set over the course of a single February day in 1933 ("Chicago in winter, armored in gray ice, the sky low, the going heavy"), Something to Remember Me By takes the form of a childhood memory as narrated by an elderly father to his adult son. There is a pervasive melancholy …