God's Grace A Novel

FSG Classics

Bernard Malamud; Introduction by Dara Horn

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

240 Pages



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God's Grace, Bernard Malamud's last novel, is a modern-day dystopian fantasy, set in a time after a thermonuclear war prompts a second flood—a radical departure from his previous fiction.

The novel's protagonist is paleologist Calvin Cohn, who had been attending to his work at the bottom of the ocean when the Devastation struck, and who alone survived. This rabbi's son—a "marginal error"—finds himself shipwrecked with an experimental chimpanzee capable of speech, to whom he gives the name Buz. Soon other creatures appear on their island-baboons, chimps, five apes, and a lone gorilla. Cohn works hard to make it possible for God to love His creation again, and his hopes increase as he encounters the unknown and the unforeseen in this strange new world.

With God's Grace, Malamud took a great risk, and it paid off. The novel's fresh and pervasive humor, narrative ingenuity, and tragic sense of the human condition make it one of Malamud's most extraordinary books.


Praise for God's Grace

"In this final moment of [Malamud's] brilliant career, the reader can feel a trembling urgency just below the surface: a writer's desperate need to shatter the rosy one-way mirror that stands between literature and life."—Dara Horn, from the Introduction

"Malamud's vision is personal, original, and almost wholly unrelated to the most characteristic or normative Jewish thought and tradition. As for Malamud's style, it too is a peculiar (and dazzling) invention."—Harold Bloom

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Read an Excerpt

God's Grace

The Flood
This is that story
The heaving high seas were laden with scum
The dull sky glowed red
Dust and ashes drifted in the wind circling the earth
The burdened seas slanted this way, and that, flooding...

Read the full excerpt


  • Bernard Malamud; Introduction by Dara Horn

  • 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.

  • Bernard Malamud Copyright Seymour Linden