Dubin's Lives (1979) us a compassionate, wry commedia, a novel described by Thomas Mallon in his introduction as "a nervy, even brave, book" whose reissue "should extend not only Malamud's readership but also our thoughts about the biographer's art."
Its protagonist is one of Malamud's finest characters: prizewinning biographer William Dubin, who learns, or so he thinks, from the lives of others—his subjects, his wife, his children, his lover. Now in later middle age, he seeks for the first time his own secret self, and the obsession of biography is supplanted by the obsession of love. Dubin's Lives is a rich, subtle book, as well as a moving tale of love and marriage.
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OneThey sometimes met on country roads when there were flowers or snow. Greenfeld wandered on various roads. In winter, bundled up against the weather, Dubin, a five-foot-eleven grizzled man with thin legs, walked on ice and snow, holding a peeled birch limb. Greenfeld remembered him tramping along exhaling white breaths. Sometimes when one was going longitude and the other latitude they waved to each other across windswept snowy fields. He recalled Dubin's half-hidden face on freezing days when it was too cold to talk. Or they joked in passing. Had he heard the one about the rabbi,