The Fixer

The Fixer

Book - 1966
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The Fixer is the winner of the 1967 National Book Award for Fiction and the 1967 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

The Fixer (1966) is Bernard Malamud's best-known and most acclaimed novel -- one that makes manifest his roots in Russian fiction, especially that of Isaac Babel.

Set in Kiev in 1911 during a period of heightened anti-Semitism, the novel tells the story of Yakov Bok, a Jewish handyman blamed for the brutal murder of a young Russian boy. Bok leaves his village to try his luck in Kiev, and after denying his Jewish identity, finds himself working for a member of the anti-Semitic Black Hundreds Society. When the boy is found nearly drained of blood in a cave, the Black Hundreds accuse the Jews of ritual murder. Arrested and imprisoned, Bok refuses to confess to a crime that he did not commit.

Publisher: New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux [1966]
ISBN: 9780374529383
9780606218955
0606218955
Branch Call Number: MALA
Characteristics: 335 p

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lukasevansherman
Jan 15, 2014

I've been reading a lot of post-war Jewish-American authors (Bellow, Mailer, Roth) and hadn't really been all that impressed with Malamud until this book, which won both the Pulitzer and the National Book Award. It is so much better and more powerful than his other books that it almost feels like the work of another writer. Set in Russia in the early 1900s, it's the story of a poor Jewish handyman (a fixer) whose wife has left him so he ventures to Kiev, where he finds work but is soon falsely accused of a vicious murder and imprisoned. The situation is a little like Kafka, but rooted in the brutality of history and the virulent anti-Semitism of the period. Malamud creates enormous sympathy for his unfortunate protagonist as well as stirring up anger at the staggering injustice. It's one of the most moving and harrowing books I've ever read about Jewish identity and anti-Semitism.

p
photogrrlkp
May 02, 2011

I loved this book - the story was fascinating as well as infuriating. The injustice described is horrifying, but the the main character is absolutely inspiring and courageous.

g
GrumpyDave
Dec 06, 2010

1967 National Book Award - Fiction

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