New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1997
With an Introduction by Robert Giroux, The Complete Stories of Bernard Malamud is "an essential American book," Richard Stern declared in the Chicago Tribune when the collection was published in hardcover. His praise was echoed by other reviewers and by readers, who embraced the book as they might a displaced person in one of Malamud's stories, now returned to us, complete and fulfilled and recognized at last. The volume gathers together fifty-five stories, from "Armistice" (1940) to "Alma Redeemed" (1984), and including the immortal stories from The Magic Barrel and the vivid depictions of the unforgettable Fidelman. It is a varied and generous collection of great examples of the modern short story, which Malamud perfected, and an ideal introduction to the work of this great American writer.
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Due to his formidable skill as a novelist--and to the fact that one of his novels, The Natural, had the good or bad luck to be repackaged as a large-screen vehicle for Robert Redford--Bernard Malamud hasn't always been recognized as short-story master of the first rank. As this collection demonstrates once and for all, he is. The anthology pieces, such as "The Magic Barrel," "The Silver Dish," or "Rembrandt's Hat," would be more than enough to place the author in the pantheon. But the 54 stories gathered here represent an astonishing abundance of narrative smarts and brilliant, Yiddish-accented prose. Malamud's heroes meet all manner of misfortune--there's something distinctly Job-like about even his most contented characters (a typical one has "a sort of indigenous sadness [that] hung on or around him")--yet the author suffuses their woes with gentle comedy. And while Jews occupy center stage in almost every tale, they are universal rather than parochial figures: as the beleaguered tailor in "Angel Levine" triumphantly informs his wife, "Believe me, there are Jews everywhere."About the Author:
Acclaimed for his short stories, Bernard Malamud (1914-1986) received two National Book Awards (for The Magic Barrel and the novel The Fixer) and the Pulitzer Prize (for The Fixer). A native of Brooklyn, he taught for many years at Bennington College.
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