When I went to start Malamud's "The Fixer" I expected that I would find a work of great brilliance. Being that it was the first book ever to win both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, only done once since, I expected unusually inspiring prose. I was not disappointed. Malamud's depiction of a man, in prison, in terrible conditions, virtually concentration camp scenarios, of a man, accused of a crime he did not commit, due to anti-semitism in Russia during the period 1904 through 1907 or thereabouts.
Malamud not only gives us the full impact and feeling of the isolation, desolation and frustration of a prisoner in terrible conditions, waiting just for a "letter of indictment", not even knowing whether he would be accused of the terrible rumor that abounded. Malamud takes us through periods of hope for the prisoner, and then dashes those hopes. He takes us through the feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and the struggle that such a combination creates with the concept of suicide.
This is a novel of life in Czarist Russia. It is a work of human grandeur and nobility-of human will- threatened with destruction but determined to survive. A classic, A++++.