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++++.
Fascinating look at what it meant to be Jewish in the Tsarist Russian world. Such freedoms we now take for granted. Excellent writing. Reminded me a lot of Dosteovsky.
Superb...a literary event in any season.
Yakov Bok is a Jew in Czarist Russia in the early years of the 20th century. It is during the time of the pogroms. Never having any luck, when his wife deserts him for a goy is moves to the big city. There his luck, even when it seems to be changing, goes from poor to as bad as it gets. He is accused of the ritual murder of a young boy. The author weaves masterfully the circumstances leading to his arrest. Most of the novel concerns his incarceration and the injustice of a justice system in a time fraught with prejudice, ambition, and corruption. The details of his imprisonment are so degrading and graphic that it would seem that the author has based it on personal experience. Be prepared for a surprise ending. Or is there a surprise, or even an ending? You be the judge.
The book contains well-written prose, except for some sentences that end with prepositions. But, is this the author, or some college-educated editor who insists on ignoring the old rule that a preposition is not a good word to end a sentence with. Evidently this no longer matters in modern grammar usage as college textbooks and writing manuals have long since eliminated any reference to this rule.
Despite a series of unbelievable misfortunes in a country where there are no real human rights, the main character triumphs over his situation with amazing humor. Malamud is a great writer, and this is totally different from the other book I've read of his. Makes you want to find more of his books.
The fixer described the struggles of the Jew male against discrimanation in Russia. Explained how ignorance can blind justices. This a a very good reading no wonder is a classic.