Bernard Malamud: Contribution as American Novelist

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      Bernard Malamud (1914-1986) was born in New York City to Russian Jewish immigrant parents. His first novel The Natural (1952) deals with the baseball as realm of American heroism and myth. The Natural (1952) is a combination of realism and fantasy set in the mythic world of professional baseball. In the second novel, The Assistant (1957) Malamud found his characteristic themes - man’s struggle to survive against all odds, and the ethical under pinning of recent Jewish immigrants. Other novels include A New Life (1961), The Fixer (1966), Pictures of Fidelman (1969), and The Tenants (1971). He was a prolific master of short fiction also. However, his stories, in collections such as The Magic Barrel (1958), Mors First (1973), he conveyed - more than any other American book writer - a sense of the Jewish present and past, the real and the surreal, fact and legend. His later novels are - The Tenants (1971), Dubin’s Lives (1979) and God’s Grace (1982) and Rembrandt’s Hat (1973).

      Malamud’s monumental work for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award is The Fixer. Set in Russia around the turn of the 20th century, it is a thinly veiled glimpse at an actual case of blood libel - the infamous 1913 trial of Mendel Beiliss, a dark, anti-Semitic blotch on the modern history. As in many of his writings, Malamud underscores the suffering of his hero, Yakov Bok, and the struggle against all odds to endure.

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