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Original Essays | September 4, 2014

Edward E. Baptist: IMG The Two Bodies of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism



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A New Life

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A New Life Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An overlooked masterpiece. It may still be undervalued as Malamud's funniest and most embracing novel. --Jonathan Lethem

In A New Life, Bernard Malamud--generally thought of as a distinctly New York writer--took on the American myth of the West as a place of personal reinvention.

When Sy Levin, a high school teacher beset by alcohol and bad decisions, leaves the city for the Pacific Northwest to start over, it's no surprise that he conjures a vision of the extraordinary new life awaiting him there: He imagined the pioneers in covered wagons entering this valley for the first time. Although he had lived little in nature Levin had always loved it, and the sense of having done the right thing in leaving New York was renewed in him. Soon after his arrival at Cascadia College, however, Levin realizes he has been taken in by a mirage. The failures pile up anew, and Levin, fired from his post, finds himself back where he started and little the wiser for it.

A New Life--as Jonathan Lethem's introduction makes clear--is Malamud at his best: with his belief in luck and new beginnings Sy Levin embodies the thwarted yearning for transcendence that is at the heart of all Malamud's work.

Bernard Malamud (1914-1986) published eight novels, including The Fixer, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. The Magic Barrel, a collection of his short stories, also won the National Book Award. Born in Brooklyn, Malamud was a beloved teacher for many years at Bennington College in Vermont.

In A New Life, Bernard Malamud--generally thought of as a distinctly New York writer--took on the American myth of the West as a place of personal reinvention. When Sy Levin, a high school teacher beset by alcohol and bad decisions, leaves the city for the Pacific Northwest to start over, he thus conjures a vision of the extraordinary new life awaiting him there: He imagined the pioneers in covered wagons entering this valley for the first time . . . Although he had lived little in nature Levin had always loved it, and the sense of having done the right thing in leaving New York was renewed in him. Soon after his arrival at Cascadia College, however, Levin realizes he has been taken in by a mirage. The failures pile up anew, and Levin finds himself back where he started--and little the wiser for it. A New Life--as Jonathan Lethem's introduction makes clear--is Malamud at his best: with his belief in luck and new beginnings, Sy Levin embodies the thwarted yearning for transcendence that is at the heart of all Malamud's work.

In the end, A New Life commits itself, with beautiful discomfort, to being a love story, full of private feeling made into the most passionate sort of art . . . His funniest, and most embracing novel] . . . An underrated masterpiece.--Jonathan Lethem, from the Introduction

Is he an American Master? Of course. Malamud not only wrote in the American language, he augmented it with fresh plasticity, he shaped our English into startling new configurations.--Cynthia Ozick

Synopsis:

"An overlooked masterpiece. It may still be undervalued as Malamud's funniest and most embracing novel." --Jonathan Lethem

In A New Life, Bernard Malamud--generally thought of as a distinctly New York writer--took on the American myth of the West as a place of personal reinvention.

When Sy Levin, a high school teacher beset by alcohol and bad decisions, leaves the city for the Pacific Northwest to start over, it's no surprise that he conjures a vision of the extraordinary new life awaiting him there: "He imagined the pioneers in covered wagons entering this valley for the first time. Although he had lived little in nature Levin had always loved it, and the sense of having done the right thing in leaving New York was renewed in him." Soon after his arrival at Cascadia College, however, Levin realizes he has been taken in by a mirage. The failures pile up anew, and Levin, fired from his post, finds himself back where he started and little the wiser for it.

A New Life--as Jonathan Lethem's introduction makes clear--is Malamud at his best: with his belief in luck and new beginnings Sy Levin embodies the thwarted yearning for transcendence that is at the heart of all Malamud's work.

About the Author

Bernard Malamud (1914 - 1986) wrote eight novels; he won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for The Fixer and the National Book Award for The Magic Barrel, a collection of stories. Born in Brooklyn, he taught for many years at Bennington College in Vermont.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374529499
Introduction:
Lethem, Jonathan
Publisher:
Farrar Straus Giroux
Introduction by:
Lethem, Jonathan
Introduction:
Lethem, Jonathan
Author:
Malamud, Bernard
Author:
Lethem, Jonathan
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
Humorous
Subject:
Humor : General
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20040931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8.51 x 5.22 x 1 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

A New Life New Trade Paper
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Product details 384 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374529499 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
"An overlooked masterpiece. It may still be undervalued as Malamud's funniest and most embracing novel." --Jonathan Lethem

In A New Life, Bernard Malamud--generally thought of as a distinctly New York writer--took on the American myth of the West as a place of personal reinvention.

When Sy Levin, a high school teacher beset by alcohol and bad decisions, leaves the city for the Pacific Northwest to start over, it's no surprise that he conjures a vision of the extraordinary new life awaiting him there: "He imagined the pioneers in covered wagons entering this valley for the first time. Although he had lived little in nature Levin had always loved it, and the sense of having done the right thing in leaving New York was renewed in him." Soon after his arrival at Cascadia College, however, Levin realizes he has been taken in by a mirage. The failures pile up anew, and Levin, fired from his post, finds himself back where he started and little the wiser for it.

A New Life--as Jonathan Lethem's introduction makes clear--is Malamud at his best: with his belief in luck and new beginnings Sy Levin embodies the thwarted yearning for transcendence that is at the heart of all Malamud's work.

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