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Novel by Bernard Malamud, published in 1966, winner of a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize.

Yakov Bok, a middle-aged Jew, eking out a living as a handyman or “fixer” in Czarist Russia about 1910, after an unhappy marriage leaves his home province for Kiev. There he chances to rescue a man named Lebedev who was undergoing some kind of physical seizure. As a reward he is made an accountant at Lebedev's brickworks and has to live in an area closed to Jews. When a local Christian boy is found murdered in a grisly way, Yakov is arrested as a scapegoat by officials who want a reason to start a pogrom. After two years in prison, often in solitary confinement, he is finally brought to trial, innocent but aware that there is “no such thing as an unpolitical man, especially a Jew.”

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards).

Reference entries

Bernard Malamud (1914—1986) American novelist and short-story writer