When I was an English major in the fall of 1986, I asked my American Lit professor who his favorite writer was.
His response? Saul Bellow.
I didn't realize at the time how predictable this response was. Saul Bellow is one of those writers who has a wide following among literature professors--not so much among casual readers.
I've read most of his books, and let me tell you: Saul Bellow is an acquired taste, to put it mildly. (I'm presently reading The Dean's December; almost of all of the action takes place within the characters' heads.)
Is there a bright spot? Yes--Humboldt's Gift. Of all Bellow's novels, this one is the most accessible to the casual reader.
Humboldt's Gift isn't a John Grisham or a Clive Cussler novel, mind you; but it's relatively fast-paced as Saul Bellow goes.
If you're interested in dipping your toe into the work of Saul Bellow, you should probably start here: