Bernard Malamud: Novels & Stories of the 1940s & 50s

Overview

Raised in Brooklyn, the son of Jewish immigrants, and coming of age in Depression-era New York, Bernard Malamud (1914–1986) began his career writing stories of unsparing precision and power, plumbing the depths of an impoverished urban world. His early, naturalistic style evolved into an inventive, often surreal idiom that blurs reality and fantasy. His first novel, The Natural (1952), is a dazzling reimagining of the possibilities of sports fiction, and it remains one of the greatest and most beloved novels ...

See more details below
Hardcover
$25.56
BN.com price
(Save 26%)$35.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (19) from $17.49   
  • New (15) from $21.00   
  • Used (4) from $18.89   
Sending request ...

Overview

Raised in Brooklyn, the son of Jewish immigrants, and coming of age in Depression-era New York, Bernard Malamud (1914–1986) began his career writing stories of unsparing precision and power, plumbing the depths of an impoverished urban world. His early, naturalistic style evolved into an inventive, often surreal idiom that blurs reality and fantasy. His first novel, The Natural (1952), is a dazzling reimagining of the possibilities of sports fiction, and it remains one of the greatest and most beloved novels about baseball ever written. In the The Assistant (1957), Malamud created a searing drama of guilt and redemption about a struggling grocer’s family and the mysterious drifter who comes to rob, and then to work at, his store, transforming all of their lives in unforeseen ways. Joining these novels are twenty-six short stories, ranging from the early tale “Armistice,” set in Brooklyn during the troubling weeks of the German invasion of France in 1940, to one of his deepest and most celebrated stories, “The Magic Barrel,” a deep fable about a rabbinical student and the matchmaker who leads him to an utterly unexpected bride.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Cynthia Ozick
Malamud, a virtuoso of darkest irony, refuses the easy conventions of cynicism and its dry detachment. His stories know suffering, loneliness, lust, confinement, defeat; and even when they are lighter, they tremble with subterranean fragility. Older readers who were familiar with the novels and stories in the years of their earliest publication will recall the wonderment they aroused, beginning with the fables of The Magic Barrel, as each new tale disrupted every prevailing literary expectation. The voice was unlike any other, haunted by whispers of Hawthorne, Babel, Isak Dinesen, even Poe, and at the same time uniquely possessed: a fingerprint of fire and ash. It was as if Malamud were at work in a secret laboratory of language, smelting a new poetics that infused the inflections of one tongue into the music of another. His landscapes, nature's and the mind's, are inimitable; the Malamudian sensibility, its wounded openness to large feeling, has had no successors.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598532920
  • Publisher: Library of America
  • Publication date: 2/27/2014
  • Pages: 800
  • Sales rank: 243,020
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

PHILIP DAVIS is the author of the authorized and definitive biography Bernard Malamud: A Writer’s Life (2010). He is the editor of The Reader magazine and director of the Centre for Research into Reading, Information and Linguistic Systems at the University of Liverpool.

Biography

Bernard Malamud (1914-1986), perhaps more than any Jewish-American author in the twentieth century, including Saul Bellow, translated the literature of the Eastern European shtetl to the streets of America. So carefully written, so diligently constructed, are his stories and novels that one could erringly view them as narratives that represent a certain current of "Jewish" writing, or as period pieces. Upon numerous re-readings of his many works, the exact opposite feeling is engendered. This is one of the most profound literati of our age, and his contributions will surely transcend the earthly time in which they were written.

Because of the reconstruction of The Natural (1952) as a movie with a happy ending, belying the bitter pill swallowed by slugger Roy Hobbs at the end of the book, Malamud's popularity has enjoyed a revival, particularly for elevating the game of baseball - already an American fantasy - to the realm of mythos. The truth was that true to his literary forebears, I.L. Peretz and Sholom Aleichem, Malamud's reliance upon myth, legend, and magic often helped convey the most intimate details of existence, and consequently, life's pathos and sadness as much as life's joy and fulfillment. Malamud explicated the tragic role of the Jew in many of his stories, including The Fixer (1966), which won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and later was adapted into a motion picture. That novel was based on the true story of Mendel Beilis, victim of the Kiev Blood Libel of 1913.

The stories are marked by a faithfulness to accent and tone that lends an unmistakable reality to every sentence and idea Malamud chose to set forth. The Magic Barrel (1954) is the diadem of his many short pieces. The sufferings of a rabbinic student, Leo Finkle, and his heroic but ungainly attempt to turn his life inside out, as he grasps desperately with his forlorn search for a marriage partner, are wrenching and inexpressibly moving. Suffering is Malamud's focus, and no author probed the subject more intensely.

The crowning literary achievement for Malamud came with the publication of The Assistant (1957). Again, mixing myth with reality, a virtual monk, Morris Bober, a grocer, welcomes into his ÒcellÓ the itinerant ne'er-do-well, Frank Alpine, whose initials most surely stand for the wonder-worker, St. Francis of Assisi. In the strictness of his prose, Malamud reshapes the grocery into a kind of Jewish monastery, as Frank, the repentant, becomes Morris's disciple in training for a new vocation. At a certain point in his novitiate, Frank asks Morris: "Tell me why it is that Jews suffer so much? It seems to me that they like to suffer, don't they?" Morris answers: "Do you like to suffer? They suffer because they are Jews." Frank responds: "That's what I mean, they suffer more than they have to." Morris replies: "If you live, you suffer. Some people suffer more, but not because they want. But I think if a Jew don't suffer for the Law, he will suffer for nothing. What do you suffer for Morris?" said Frank. "I suffer for you," Morris said calmly. "What do you mean?" asked Frank. "I mean you suffer for me."

The aching reality. The underlying mythos. The seeming simplicity. All point to the immeasurable depth of a master artisan and artist whose literary bequest remains one of the Jewish community's most priceless possessions.

Author biography courtesy of Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York.

Read More Show Less
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 28, 1914
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      March 18, 1986
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., City College of New York, 1936; M.A., Columbia University, 1942

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)