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The Tenants

A Novel

Bernard Malamud; Introduction by Aleksandar Hemon

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

With a new introduction by Aleksandar Hemon

In The Tenants (1971), Bernard Malamud brought his unerring sense of modern urban life to bear on the conflict between blacks and Jews then inflaming his native Brooklyn. The sole tenant in a rundown tenement, Henry Lesser is struggling to finish a novel, but his solitary pursuit of the sublime grows complicated when Willie Spearmint, a black writer ambivalent toward Jews, moves into the building. Henry and Willie are artistic rivals and unwilling neighbors, and their uneasy peace is disturbed by the presence of Willie's white girlfriend Irene and the landlord Levenspiel's attempts to evict both men and demolish the building. This novel's conflict, current then, is perennial now; it reveals the slippery nature of the human condition, and the human capacity for violence and undoing.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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The Tenants
LESSER CATCHING SIGHT OF HIMSELF in his lonely glass wakes to finish his book. He smelled the living earth in the dead of winter. In the distance mournful blasts of a vessel departing the harbor. Ah, if I could go where it's going. He wrestles to sleep again but can't, unease like a horse dragging him by both bound legs out of bed. I've got to get up to write, otherwise there's no peace in me. In this regard I have no choice. "My God, the years." He flings aside the blanket and standing unsteadily by the loose-legged chair that holds his clothes slowly draws on his cold pants. Today's
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REVIEWS

Praise for The Tenants

"Malamud ... gentles his material with humor, with that redemptive conscience, and above all with a compassion which extends all of his works beyond the mapped margins of existence, however destitute."
--Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
 
"Malamud's best book in years."
--The New York Times

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Bernard Malamud; Introduction by Aleksandar Hemon

  • Bernard Malamud (1914-86) wrote eight novels; he won the Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award for The Fixer, and the National Book Award for The Magic Barrell. Born in Brooklyn, he taught for many years at Bennington College in Vermont.
  • Bernard Malamud Copyright Seymour Linden
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The Tenants

A Novel

Bernard Malamud; Introduction by Aleksandar Hemon

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