- Timothy Parrish
Bellow, Saul (10 June 1915–05 April 2005), novelist and short story writer, was born Solomon Bellow in Lachine, Quebec, the fourth child of Abram Belo and Lescha (Liza) Gordin, Russian-Jewish immigrants from St. Petersburg. His sister, Zelda (Jane, 1906), and two brothers, Movscha (Maurice, 1908) and Schmule (Samuel, 1911), were born in Russia. Upon settling in Canada in 1913, immigration officials changed the family name from Belo to Bellows, which would be shortened to Bellow in 1924. In St. Petersburg the Bellows occupied a much higher social position than the one they found in the New World. Abram Bellow lost thousands of rubles that he had smuggled from Russia, and he undertook a series of unsuccessful jobs as a baker, junk dealer, and bootlegger, later importing alcohol across the U.S.-Canada border. Young Saul sometimes helped with the illegal deliveries. Liza Bellow was religiously devout and wished Saul would become either a violinist or a rabbi. Though she died when Saul was seventeen years old, her influence on him was significant. He became an accomplished amateur violinist, and his writing addressed questions of the human soul and what it means to live a moral life. He suffered her loss his entire life....