This 1957 novel depicts the story of a NYC Jewish shopkeeper operating a failing business in a gentile neighborhood. Morris Bober, our poor shopkeeper lives daily on the brink of bankruptcy when along comes “The Assistant” to help run the shop. “The Assistant may be skimming some money from the till and soon he has eyes on Bobers’ daughter, which would be another kind of theft that Bober would have to suffer. We view this all in the context of 20th century Jewish big city culture. Rated as one of the best 100 novels rated in Time Magazine since 1923.
The storytelling is masterfully and the intensity is nearly Russian. The protagonist in this brilliant novel is haunted by guilt and seeks redemption for crime which he can't help but commit. There's a great deal going on in this powerful tale.
Bernard Malamud was part of the wave of post-war East Coast Jewish writers (Roth, Bellow, Mailer), but his reputation has been eclipsed by his contemporaries. He is probably best know because he wrote "The Natural," which became a movie. His second novel is a rather drab, social realist look at characters working in a store in NYC.
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