It was the normal hour for bats swooping raggedly (Ludeyville), or pieces of paper (New York) to remind Herzog of bats. An escaped balloon was fleeing like a sperm, black and quick into the orange dust of the west. (5.145)
How's that for vivid writing? Can't you just hear those fluttering papers and see that balloon floating off into the evening sky? Can't you just feel Herzog's sense of the absurdity of existence (and his horniness, sure) when he compares the balloon to a disappearing sperm?
But for all the novel's poetry, Bellow doesn't hold back on being an intellectual either. He expects quite a bit from his readers, which is why one New York Times book reviewer wrote,
After Herzog no writer need pretend in his fiction that his education stopped in the eighth grade. (Source)
This critic is tired of writers dumbing down their language to make readers more comfortable. And Bellow's language is dumb like a fox: Bellow does not skimp on the SAT vocabulary, dense philosophical contemplation, or allusions to famous dead dudes.