In this wise and dazzling work of fiction, Nobel laureate Saul Bellow writes comically and tragically about the tenacity of first love. The story behind The Actual belongs to Harry Trellman, an aging, astute businessman who has never belonged anywhere: not in the Chicago orphanage where he was sent by his mother, not in high school (too brainy), not even on the streets, where his vaguely Asian features set him apart from the rest of the pack. As for human attachments, they are like everything else in his life, singular and irregular. But Harry has always been a keen observer--a trait not unnoticed by billionaire Sigmund Adletsky, who retains Harry as his adviser on human affairs. The two men discuss ordinary things, but the older man is also sharp enough to realize that, behind his stoic mask, Harry harbors some intense feelings for a certain woman. That woman--the object of some forty years? passion--is Amy Wustrin, a twice- divorced interior designer who's walked through her share of life's ups and downs. Thanks to Sigmund, she walks unexpectedly into Harry's life. And this time he's not about to let her go.