Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award
The Fixer (1966) is Bernard Malamud's best-known and most acclaimed novel, and one that makes manifest his roots in Russian fiction, especially that of Isaac Babel.
Set in Tsarist Russia during a period of virulent anti-Semitism, the novel tells the story of Yakov Bok, a Jewish handyman blamed for the brutal murder of a young Russian boy. At the outset, Bok leaves his village to try his luck in Kiev, and after denying his Jewish identity, he finds himself working for a member of the anti-Semitic Black Hundreds Society. When the boy is found dead in a cave, drained of nearly all his blood, the Jews are accused of ritual murder. Arrested and imprisoned, Bok refuses to confess to a crime that he did not commit. Malamud said of the book: "Whatever else it had to be about, it had to be about how the idea of freedom grows in the mind of a man subjected to a grave injustice." The Fixer dramatizes a particular kind of injustice, and the result is a masterpiece of twentieth-century fiction.