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Bernard Malamud Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Natural (1952) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Assistant (1957) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A New Life (1961) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Fixer (1966) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Pictures of Fidelman (1969) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Tenants (1971) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dubin's Lives (1979) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
God's Grace (1982) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Collections

The Magic Barrel (1958) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Idiots First (1963) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Penguin Modern Stories 1 (1969) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Rembrandt's Hat (1973) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Stories of Bernard Malamud (1983) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The People (1989) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Complete Stories (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Novels & Stories of the 1960s (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Novels & Stories of the 1940s & 50s (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Talking Horse (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Bernard Malamud was a Jewish American author that was best known for novels like ‘The Natural’ and ‘The Fixer’.

+Biography

Bernard Malamud was born in Brooklyn, New York to Russian Jewish Immigrants. A student of Erasmus Hall High School (Brooklyn), Bernard had the misfortune of growing up during the Great Depression.

Unlike his brother Eugene who died a lonely life in his fifties, Bernard never let the hard times get him down. The author took solace in his love for films and especially enjoyed regaling his friends with the plots of Charlie Chaplin’s comedies.

The author initially trained as a teacher. Eventually, he went on to get his Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree from City College of New York and Columbia University respectively. Bernard Malamud could have been just another artist lost to the war.

But being his widower father’s bread winner allowed him to escape conscription. After taking a couple of detours, Bernard eventually landed a job at Oregon State University. Bernard would have loved to teach literary courses instead of freshman composition. But the lack of a Ph.D. made this dream all but impossible.

But Bernard didn’t allow that to get him down and he instead injected his efforts into writing fiction during his free time. By the time he retired from teaching in 1961, the author had taught creative writing at Bennington College.

Some of the author’s achievements before and after retirement include becoming an American Academy of Arts and Sciences member and marrying Anne De Chiara, an Italian-American that he met in 1942. Considering his Jewish background, it goes without saying that Bernard’s marriage to Anne did not please either of their parents. Though the couple still proceeded with their nuptials and eventually brought two children into the world.

Bernard always described himself as an agnostic. He also used the word ‘Humanist’ to describe his philosophies about life. By the time he passed away, the author was 71 years of age. He was living in Manhattan.

+Literary Career

Few people know of Bernard Malamud. He wasn’t especially prolific. His fans like to think that ‘The Natural’ was Bernard’s first novel; that one was published in 1952 and it was predated by ‘The Light Sleeper’ which is the author’s actual first novel.

The book was completed in 1948. However, for various reasons it never saw the light of day. Bernard actually went so far as to burn the manuscript. Readers only ever remember ‘The Natural’ which explored the life of a middle-aged athlete whose abilities allowed him to dominate the baseball landscape.

While ‘The Natural’ definitely garnered interest, it was Bernard’s second novel that essentially created the blueprint for his approach to writing. ‘The Assistant’ used Bernard’s own experiences to tell the exploits of a Jewish Immigrant in the United States. And the book cemented Bernard’s place as the sort of author who explored the hardships faced by immigrants in the United States.

Even though Bernard’s books had the potential to take a dark turn, especially taking into account the desperate and poverty-stricken nature of his protagonists, Bernard always endeavored to leave his audience with a sense of hope and optimism. He elicited joy from telling stories that saw the poor and down-trodden achieve their dreams in the long run.

Bernard Malamud didn’t pander to audiences, and his books always seemed to attract the right sort of attention, eventually garnering him a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his 1967 novel.

Besides the eight novels in his bibliography, Bernard Malamud also wrote short stories. It has been argued that Bernard’s short stories were of a far superior quality to his novels. Though the author’s ability to explore social factors like infidelity, divorce, and abuse, not to mention love, redemption and sacrifice still made his novels a worthwhile read.

Over the years, many a book has been written about Bernard Malamud. Additionally, the PEN/Malamud Award was created in the late 1980s to honor the author’s legacy. The award is given to authors whose abilities to write short stories exceed expectations.

+Adaptations

‘The Natural’ is one of Bernard Malamud’s most popular works. The novel was turned into a live-action motion picture in 1984. Featuring Robert Redford and Glenn Close and directed by Barry Levinson, the movie focused on the character of Roy Hobbs, an athlete past his prime who achieved legendary status for his abilities on the field.

The film explores Roy Hobbs’ success and struggles. The movie received numerous Academy nominations.

+The Fixer

When a young Russian Boy perishes in unfortunate circumstances, Yakov Bok takes the blame. The Jewish Handyman only left his village for Kiev because he thought it would offer him better prospects. Yakov’s decision to join an anti-Semitic group doesn’t quite work out as he expected, not when he is accused of murder and imprisoned.

This book reveals the difficult journey of a handyman looking for better prospects in Kiev in 1911. Yakov’s wife left him and this propelled him to abandon his home for the Jewish community in Kiev. Yakov thinks that he will grow rich and find a wife who isn’t as barren as his former partner. Yakov thinks that success will come his way because he can easily pass for a Russian. An encounter with an unconscious man leads Yakov to join an Anti-Semitic group.

When a boy dies, it is clear that the authorities are out to frame Yakov. The result is a story about Yakov’s bleak existence in prison as he survives each new day.

+The Assistant

Morris Bober’s luck takes a turn for the worse when his grocer in postwar Brooklyn is robbed by a pair of thugs. Morris thought that making Frank Alpine his assistant would change things for the better. Not only did Frank fall for Helen Bober but he took to helping himself to the store’s merchandise.

The Assistant paints a vivid picture of the trials of a Jewish immigrant struggling to make it in the United States after the war ends. The life Bernard Malamud portrays is a difficult one. Jewish immigrants must decide whether or not they will stand by their religious codes in a world that seems determined to make their lives as complicated as possible.

Morris Bober represents the attitudes of many Jewish immigrants from that time. He is happy to suffer heroically for the sake of his family. Frank, on the hand, refuses to accept his fate. He wants to emulate Morris. But he also wants more from life.

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