Bernard Malamud: A Writer's Life
Oxford University Press
From a materially and spiritually impoverished childhood in Brooklyn, with the shadow of mental illness darkening the lives of some of his closest relatives, Bernard Malamud earned a living as a teacher. Yet his truest and most passionate expression was in his writing.
Philip Davis’s account of this major author, Bernard Malamud, traces the friendships, loves, lusts, and disappointments of Malamud’s life. Davis charts the rise and eventual triumphs of the writer’s craft, as Malamud earned his place among the most important 20th century American Jewish writers. This window on the internal world that informed his work, including his modern classics The Fixer, The Tenants, The Natural (basis of the film) and the short story collection The Magic Barrel; illuminate the writer’s success in expressing on the page “that which matters most...is created with the least possible means.”
Davis guides the reader along the course of Malamud’s development as a family man, teacher, and writer, citing from personal correspondences and recollections of friends and colleagues. The reader sees “[T]he process of greatness coming out of the ordinary...which is precisely the power of Malamud’s writing itself.” In all, this is a highly readable, informative, and enjoyable volume on an important literary figure. Index, notes.
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