Here is the first full-length biography of Bernard Malamud, the self-made son of poor Jewish immigrants who went on to become one of the foremost novelists and short-story writers of the post-war period, a man who at the peak of his success stood alongside Saul Bellow and Philip Roth in the ranks of Jewish American writers. To tell Malamud's ...
Here is the first full-length biography of Bernard Malamud, the self-made son of poor Jewish immigrants who went on to become one of the foremost novelists and short-story writers of the post-war period, a man who at the peak of his success stood alongside Saul Bellow and Philip Roth in the ranks of Jewish American writers. To tell Malamud's story, Philip Davis has drawn on exclusive interviews with family, friends, and colleagues; unfettered access to private journals and letters; and detailed analysis of Malamud's working methods through previously unresearched manuscripts. Nothing came easily to Malamud: his family was poor, his mother probably committed suicide when Malamud was 14, and his younger brother inherited her schizophrenia. Davis's meticulous biography explores the many connections between Malamud's life and work, revealing all that it meant for this man to be a writer, both in terms of how he brought his life into his writing and how his writing affected his life. It also restores Bernard Malamud's literary reputation as one of the great original voices of his generation, a writer of superb subtlety and clarity.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-08-27 On his first day of teaching composition at Oregon State College in 1949, Bernard Malamud (1914-1986) told his class, "It has been brought to my attention that many of you people here today are practicing celibacy. I have nothing against this practice and will not penalize you for it." This note of almost delightful silliness (or weird social inappropriateness) stands out in this important, thorough and at times compelling biography-the first ever of the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer. That scene stands out against the ordinariness of Malamud's life, which was essentially dedicated to work, though he had a more-or-less happy marriage (not without infidelities) and two children. This is at times more a literary analysis than a strict biography, as Davis, a professor of English literature at Liverpool University, strives to connect Malamud's life to his work: how the writer's preoccupation with his father's Brooklyn grocery, for example, is reflected in The Assistant. There is some fascinating background: wanting to write a novel about social injustice, Malamud considered the Sacco and Vanzetti and Caryl Chessman cases before settling on the blood libel case of Mendel Beilis, in The Fixer. Davis places Malamud in the context of American and Jewish-American literature, but this is written in a style that will appeal more to scholars than the general public. 32 b&w illus. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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