Synopses & Reviews
A classic that won Malamud both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award
The Fixer (1966) is Bernard Malamud's best-known and most acclaimed novel -- one that makes manifest his roots in Russian fiction, especially that of Isaac Babel.
Set in Kiev in 1911 during a period of heightened anti-Semitism, the novel tells the story of Yakov Bok, a Jewish handyman blamed for the brutal murder of a young Russian boy. Bok leaves his village to try his luck in Kiev, and after denying his Jewish identity, finds himself working for a member of the anti-Semitic Black Hundreds Society. When the boy is found nearly drained of blood in a cave, the Black Hundreds accuse the Jews of ritual murder. Arrested and imprisoned, Bok refuses to confess to a crime that he did not commit.
Set in czarist Russia, The Fixer is the story of the strains and anxieties that beset a man who finds himself a stranger in his community and a victim of irrational prejudice as a wave of anti-Semitic hysteria engulfs a town after the murder of a boy. Yakov Bok, an ordinary handyman, is charged with the -ritual murder- of the boy simply because of his Jewish heritage. The story of Bok's struggle in an atmosphere of hate is universally applicable to that of any victim of a miscarriage of justice and mob prejudice.