The Fixer, by Bernard Malamud

The Pulitzer Project


The Fixer is one of those books that seem designed for the Pulitzer Prize. Set in the early 20th century, it focuses on the arrest and punishment of Yakov Bok, a Jewish Russian who is accused of murder and arrested. It focuses on the anti-Semitism and cruel treatment of jews during that period in Russia. Reading the summary on the back of the book, I steeled myself for heavy-handedness and a forced story about the triumph of the human condition. Regardless, I tried to shake off my preconceptions and dive into the book with an open mind.

Yakov Bok is hiding in a Kiev, after leaving his hometown. He is fleeing a bad divorce, and looking to make a new start. He gives himself a fake name and a new identity, in order to conceal his identity from the anti-Semitic citizens of the town. He is hired as a repairman…

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