Bernard Malamud was an American author known for his novels and short stories about the Jewish-American experience. His works often explore themes of redemption, suffering, and the moral struggle to overcome personal failings. Malamud's notable works include 'The Natural', which was later adapted into a film, and 'The Fixer', which won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.
1. The Fixer
"The Fixer" is a historical novel set in Tsarist Russia that follows the story of a Jewish handyman, or "fixer", who is unjustly imprisoned after being accused of ritual murder. The narrative explores his struggle for dignity, survival, and ultimately freedom against the backdrop of a deeply anti-Semitic society. The protagonist's ordeal becomes a symbol for the broader persecution of Jews during this era, offering a profound commentary on human rights, faith, and resilience.
"The Magic Barrel" is a collection of thirteen short stories that explore themes of love, suffering, and redemption set against the backdrop of post-World War II New York City. The stories follow a range of characters, from a lonely rabbinical student seeking a wife to a poor grocery store owner struggling with his faith. The narratives provide a poignant examination of human relationships, the immigrant experience, and the struggle to find meaning in a difficult world.
"The Assistant" is a story about a struggling Jewish grocer in Brooklyn and his family, who are trying to make ends meet. Their lives dramatically change when a young Italian-American drifter comes to work as their assistant after he was involved in a robbery at their store. The narrative explores themes of guilt, redemption, and the power of good deeds, as the assistant tries to make amends for his past actions, slowly transforming his life and the lives of those around him.
4. The Natural
The book tells the story of a baseball prodigy named Roy Hobbs, whose career is almost ended when a mysterious woman shoots him. After years of recovery, he returns to the game as a middle-aged rookie and leads his team to the top of the league. However, his past mistakes and personal flaws lead to his downfall. The novel explores themes of heroism, fate, and the American Dream.
5. The Stories
"The Stories" is a collection of short fiction that delves into the human condition, often exploring themes of personal struggle, redemption, and the complexities of life through a variety of characters and settings. The narratives frequently feature protagonists who face moral dilemmas or societal challenges, with many stories highlighting the experiences of Jewish individuals and the particular cultural and historical pressures they encounter. The author's prose is marked by a blend of realism and allegory, with a compassionate yet unsentimental tone that underscores the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.
6. A New Life
"A New Life" is a novel about a New York college instructor who moves to the West Coast to start over after the end of a failed marriage. He takes a job at a small college in Oregon, where he navigates the politics of academia, falls in love with a colleague's wife, and struggles with his own personal demons. The book explores themes of redemption, personal growth, and the complexities of human relationships.