The Assistant

The Assistant

by Bernard Malamud
3.5 16


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The Assistant by Bernard Malamud

One of the greatest novels of our time is about the friendship and passion and soul-searching that led one ordinary American to become a Jew

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060958305
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/01/2000
Series: Perennial Classics Series
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.29(w) x 8.02(h) x 0.59(d)
Lexile: 880L (what's this?)

About the Author

Bernard Malamud (1914–86) wrote eight novels; he won the Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award for The Fixer, and the National Book Award for The Magic Barrel. Born in Brooklyn, he taught for many years at Bennington College in Vermont.

Date of Birth:

April 28, 1914

Date of Death:

March 18, 1986

Place of Birth:

Brooklyn, New York

Place of Death:

New York, New York


B.A., City College of New York, 1936; M.A., Columbia University, 1942

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Assistant 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Cenzo64 More than 1 year ago
Bernard Malamud captured the immigrant life beautifully - America where dreams are made or broken; where one struggles to make a better life for their family. Morris Bober is confined to his small grocery store - his grave - an honest man struggling to make an honest living against many odds. In this captivating story you will encounter the physicality of rape, robbery, beatings and death. The mental and emotional journey you will take includes astounding glimpses of internal conflict, guilt, regret, human suffering, remorse, reconciliation, a quest for forgiveness and redemption. The Assistant is a story that transcends time. Wonderful read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was interesting. The way the author explained and described each ethnic group. From the Jewish grocer to the New York liquer dealer. It is set in post war Brooklyn. Its a good book, it teaches you about Jewish life as well as other cultures you may not know about. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning about different cultures in a past time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The ¿American dream¿ is cleverly described in Bernard Malamud¿s book, The Assistant. Bober, the main character, is a recent Russian immigrant who is trying to run a grocery store in Brooklyn in the late 1800¿s. A new grocery store is making him loose costumers, and the store is being supported mostly by his daughters pay checks. Malamund is able to describe the stress and desperation of Bobers¿s predicament. Just when Bober considers giving up the business, He meets Frank Alpine. And when Frank crosses paths with Bober, they start to take on a father-son relationship, and the story begins to develop rapidly. The characterization in Malamud¿s work is fantastic. The characters are honestly displayed with both positive and negative aspects. The scene of the story is also interesting. New York at that time was very diverse and unique, and Malamud captures that with his descriptions of the many outdoor scenes where Frank looks deep within his soul. The book puts in perspective the troubles immigrants and new business owners have, and the importance of work ethics and honesty.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This in my judgment remains Malamud's finest novel. The story of Frankie Alpine the petty thief who comes to work in the store of Morris Bober, a poor Jewish grocer , and through the work come to identify and understand Jewish suffering is a poetically written , and deeply moving work. The story of Frankie Alpine's moral transformation in becoming Malamud 's kind of Jew is subtlely and beautiful told, as is Alpine's problematic love story with Bober's daughter. For Malamud a Jew is someone who is made more humane by a special and deep suffering.This is not a very Halachic definition, and not perhaps a very accurate definition in any real way. But it is Malamud 's literary and philosophical premise, and it informs all his work.Here it is illustrated in its most compelling and sympathetic way . Who reads this work will feel the need to be a kinder and better human being.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is the first book by malamud i've ever read and i can honestly say i'm not even one bit disappointed. i love the jewish grocer's dignity and frank's moral renewal. both characters made me once again re-evaluate my very existence in this world.
IEB More than 1 year ago
It was most difficult for the family to move on and try to eke out a better living. The daughter had higher aspirations, but her dreams were put on hold for she had to contribute to her family.
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Sitake More than 1 year ago
It kept interested throughout the entire book. Yet I kinda saw a few things coming without having to even read that part. :P
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this book because it taught me how to look at things and makes me want change the way I act towards other's. The book explained how this man named Frank went through transformation and he didn't really know who he wanted to be and he felt lost. The book made me feel that I shouldn't give up on anything just because I may not have certain things in life. I feel that when you don't have much in life that you have to put effort to try to do something with your life so that you then can be in a higher postion that everyone else is in. The book made me realize to not to judge anyone just because they might not be in the same religion that you are in you should always get to know the good side of a person, before you judge first and end up getting the bad side of them. This book can really make some one feel different about themselves after reading this book because it gives you tips and details on how a man that didn't have anything ended up having pride and being caring of other's at the end. So I would recommand people to read this book if they want to learn a little more on how they can change certain things about themselves after reading the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book started off very, very boring. I almost put it down. But then it got a little interesting. (Just a little). The ending wasn't great at all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know this is supposed to be one of the "it" books but I simply could not get into this story at all. I thought the characters were awful people who actively ruined their own lives. I am not the kind of person that needs rainbows and sunshine in every story I read, but I would like at least one character to root for. Sadly this book did not have any such character. Totally depressing, skip it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Without a doubt the most boring book I have EVER read. This was required reading for my Sophomore son; I'll read anything and picked it up. I can not imagine why an English teacher would imagine that a 15 year old would have any interest in this type of setting. The main character suffers through his entire life trying to make a living, his daughter gives up her dream of an education to help the family, his "assistant" steals from him, assaults him, and rapes his daughter. Not to mention his nagging wife, who talks him out of his "dream" to be a pharmacist. If you want to be depressed, read the newspaper or watch the evening newscast. There is a multitude of great literature our children can read...classics, that depict daily life...please, let the suffering stop with "The Assistant"!
Snakeskin66 More than 1 year ago
This is a book where most of the characters complain about their harsh lives...for me it turned out as a self-pitying bonanza. The story dragged on and more than half way through I couldn't imagine how this was going to end. A plethora of depressing events take place and then the ending slaps you in the face with a moral punch. The Assistant is supposed to be about the transformation of this Frank Alpine. Malamud, the author, focused more on basic facts and actions rather than helping the reader see "eye to eye" with Frank. I really wanted to empathize with these characters and see what they saw. Out of everything that happened the ending left me unsatisfied and with a big, "Who cares?" hanging over my head.