Malamud, in my not-so-humble opinion, was one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. Not one of the greatest Jewish-American writers, though his work is Jewish through and through; one of the greatest American writers.
He once said that life is a tragedy full of joy, and there's no better description of this book. It's hard to pin down just where the joy lies, here--there's very little humour compared to his other writing, there are long descriptions of agony and outrage; there is redemption, but it doesn't flow out of the agony and outrage. It's somehow there from the beginning or not there at all, since as the fixer says, "what suffering has taught me is the uselessness of suffering". Don't be misled: this is not the Book of Job and it's not The Trial. It's an infinitely compassionate and infinitely human author who drags and accompanies the fixer into hell, and there's no parched sense of inevitability about his doom. Instead, his story is urged along by a muscular heart, every capillary welling with oxygen, every cell clamouring, wide awake.
I could no more tell you where the joy is than I could fish out a living body’s mitochondria, it’s just there....Continua
What a thrilling book this is. Absolutely brilliant story - so engaging - so exciting. Couldn't put it down.