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The Fixer

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  6,316 ratings  ·  307 reviews
Kiev, in the years before World War I, is a hotbed of anti-Semitism. When a 12-year-old Russian boy is found stabbed to death, his body drained of blood, the accusation of ritual murder is made against the Jews. Yokov Bok, a carpenter, is blamed, arrested and imprisoned without indictment.
Paperback, First Pocket Books printing, 306 pages
Published (first published 1966)
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After reading over a hundred pages in Norman Cohn's The Pursuit of the Millennium, which is in large part about the horrid pogroms unleashed on Europe's Jews in the Middle Ages, I thought The Fixer would be a compatible co-read. The novel is set in Russia between the end of the Russo-Japanese War (1905) and the start of the Bolshevik Revolution (1917). The Fixer tells the story of Yakov Bok, a Jew dwelling in a Russian shtetl 30 versts from Kiev who tries to work as a general handyman, a fixer. ...more
A huge disappointment as I’d briefly christened Malamud My Favorite Author after having recently read The Assistant and several short stories (“The Angel Levine”!). This is the book that won Malamud the Nobel, and I had to wonder why. It’s ideological, heavy handed, a hammer on your skull, bald-faced allegory, and miserable to read, pages and pages of suffering. I know there’s a grand point here, and it has something to do with the philosophy of Spinoza (which I haven’t read), God’s betrayal of ...more
Yakov Bok is non-religious and apolitical. He simply wants a better life. He is slightly bitter that life gives him lemons but no sugar to make lemonade but that does not keep him from trying to improve. He reads Spinoza to educate himself and moves to Kiev to start a better life. He is a repairman aka a "fixer". Unfortunately, he is also a Jew in Tsarist Russia.

I like Yakov. He is Everyman. He is not a hero nor a wise man. But he is sincere and honest. He is a basically honest man placed in an
kissing this book goodbye from my real book-shelves ... probably my fault that I didn't quite see the artistic depths of the novel.

The is a Pulitzer prize winning novel. I found it a very depressing read. It tells a story that, in its historical setting, is believable. The main character is a victim of circumstances, for which we feel sympathy, and even horror when we reflect on the fate that befalls men. But he is not actually very likable. All of these things are good, or at worst, not bad.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ian Pardo
Bernard Malamud's Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winner is a nightmare rendered masterfully as art. Yakov Bok's story is that of human dignity, and the search thereof even in the most indignant of circumstances. According to Yakov, if he has a philosophy, it's that things in this world can be better.

And this perhaps is the book's greatest legacy. In the insightful foreword by Jonathan Safran Foer, he says that the world is the broken thing and that everyone can be its fixer. And though
Ubik 2.0
Detenuto in attesa di giudizio

Ho intrapreso la lettura di questo romanzo con un eccesso di aspettative dovuto al collegamento di Malamud (di cui non avevo mai letto nulla) con Philip Roth che gli dedicò un saggio e ne fu ispirato al punto di rappresentare in alcune sue opere un personaggio (E.I. Lonoff), anziano e ammirato scrittore, che alcuni ritennero ispirato alla figura di Malamud (altri però dicono Bellow, altri ancora Henry Roth!).

Comunque sia, dopo la delusione iniziale per la distanza s
THE FIXER. (1966). Bernard Malamud. *****.
This is probably Malamud’s best known work, and was the winner of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. This is the first I’ve read it since its publication in 1966. I was amazed at how much of the story stuck with me over the years. The ‘fixer’ was Yakov Bok, an itinerant Jewish handyman. He was modeled after the real-life character, Mendel Beiliss, who was arrested and falsely charged with the murder of a 12-year old boy in order to sati
Saverio Mariani
Brevi appunti su un libro bellissimo.

Malamud inizia il romanzo con una sordina che gli impedisce quasi di parlare. Tranne qualche sferzata brusca, attraverso le quali si snoda la vicenda, il tutto è stretto dentro un rivolo leggerissimo d'acqua. Un rischio gigantesco.
Ma si percepisce che, nonostante la sordina, la melodia che suona in fondo è qualcosa di struggente bellezza.

Le 400 pagine del romanzo viaggiano attraverso tre anni di vita, conducendoti nelle storture dell'umano, nella capacità d
Simon Wood

I first read Bernard Malamud's "The Fixer", which I picked up for the now unimaginable sum of ten pence in a charity shop, over a dozen years ago. It struck me at that time as a powerful and even important work. Reading it again so many years later I wondered how it would hold up.

Yakov Bok, the Fixer of the title, is a free-thinking Jew whose trade is that of a handyman from the Pale in the Ukraine (where Jews are legally allowed to reside) in the last years of the Tsarist
Well that was depressing. There may have been a time or two I have been this relieved that I have finally finished a book, but it hasn't happened often. It was such a relief to close that book knowing I never have to open it again. I know that "The Fixer" has won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, just knowing that made me go and find out what it takes to win either of these awards and this is what I found just in case you're interested:

"Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: for disting
Agnes Mack
With the possible exception of Night by Elie Wiesel, The Fixer is the most powerful and affecting book I've ever read.

It tells the story of a Jew living in Russia ~1920. The Fixer is a man who has grown up in the Jewish ghetto and moves into the city of Kiev in an attempt to make a better life for himself.

He gets a job and all is going well until he runs across a man who is passed out, drunk, in the street. After he helps him to his home, the grateful man offers him a well paying job in his ware
Yair Bezalel
Of all the novels I've read in the last few years, the ones that could be termed 'Jewish American Fiction', the one I'd say Malamud's The Fixer most resembles is Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird.

Both of the novels are written in a style so earnest and even a little antiquated that it's almost too much for their respective pages. There's a gradualness to the proceedings, an iceberg like slowness that lends both stories a heightened sense of acute dread interspersed by jarring moments of both dep
What a difficult book to read, and, I can only imagine, to write. We start with the injustice of poverty and lack of opportunity in the shtetl and move almost directly into a variety of unjust accusations leveled against Yakov Bok, who has become a scapegoat for all the imagined evil deeds of all the Jews in Russia.

Bok leaves the shtetl with hopes of a better life in Kiev. At first, things look up for him. Serendipity finds him a good job, and he is able to afford some books, and even put away s
Procitana u jednom danu. Teska, mucna knjiga o sudbini covjeka kojeg nigdje nije pratila sreca. Na kraju nevin zavrsi u zatvoru, kopni u zatvoru, slamaju mu duh, ceka optuznicu za ubojstvo ali optuznica nikako da osvane. Eto, kriv je jer je Židov...
Nella Russia zarista del 1913, un ebreo viene condannato per l’omicidio rituale di un bambino cristiano. Molto più indietro negli anni e a verste di distanza, Geoffrey Chaucer nell'epigrafe parla di “un piccolo Ugo di Lincoln, trucidato anche tu dagli ebrei maledetti”. Bernand Malamud è ebreo per nascita, ma distante dai rituali della religione a cui appartiene, e estraneo alla geografia fisica e sentimentale degli shtetl europei. Eppure, come fa notare Alessandro Piperno nella sua prefazione, l ...more
POGROM is the word which can give readers an idea of what this book is all about. This means a planned killing of large numbers of people, especially Jews, usually done for reasons of race or religion. In other words, it is synonymous with MASSACRE. The book, therefore, deals with anti-Semitism during Tsarist Russia beyond my knowledge of World History.

This book breaks my heart and makes me feel for the protagonist, Yakov Bok, a Jewish fixer by trade, who dreamed to make something of himself by
There are a lot of great books where reading them feels like having your frontal lobe beaten. After reading a good chunk of a book like this, there's a discomfort in your jaw because you had it clenched the whole time. The Fixer was one of these books but I don't mean that as a criticism. It requires work, like a lot of worthwhile art. I prefer books that offer a pleasurable sensation--enlightenment in some non-cerebral way--but sometimes you just need to read through concrete. So. I read this t ...more
Ken Deshaies
This is, in a sense, a difficult book to read. Actually, it draws you in, compelling you to move through the experiences of its protagonist. Yet you are living vicariously the difficult life of a prisoner reviled by the authorities who, even though they know of his innocence, want to see him suffer for his presumed faith.

Yakov Bok was born poor, a Jew who grew disenchanted with his faith and, hence, considered himself an independent thinker. Yet he cannot shake his birthright and, to his contin
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this novel set during the end of Tsarist Russia concerns the titular handyman, Yakov Bok, an agnostic Jew who leaves his village where he’s had nothing but personal and financial failure and tries his luck in Kiev. There in the big anti-Semitic city, Yakov poses as a goy Russian and becomes a brickyard foreman, not through deliberate machinations but a series of events and lies of omission which make this the easiest and safest course for him. But after a young boy ...more
Michelle Layton
Just finished chapter 6 of part 5.

This book is breaking my heart. Yakov, you poor poor man. I've been incredibly privileged in my life and have had very little, if any, personal confrontations with anyone questioning my race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, or anything else. I want to feel that the world has changed since then, as I read a book about this intense anti-semitic witch hunt- but then I read about McCarthyism in our recent past, the recent shooting at a Sikh temple
I bought this book in college and it's been sitting on my shelf unopened until last week. This novel was written well, and it was based on a true incident where a Jewish man was tried and convicted of murdering a Russian boy who was actually killed by his own mother. It was set in Russia during the reign of the last zsar (1905-ish), at a time of intense anti-semitic hatred--it reminded me of Fiddler on the Roof, but I haven't checked to see if it's the same time. Yakov is an ironic Christ figure ...more
I'm not one to shy away from a difficult book subject-matter-wise, but this is hands down the most difficult one I've read. Only 335 pages, yet almost every one of them brimming over with the horrible suffering of a falsely accused Jewish prisoner in Kiev in the years leading up to WWI. It was very slow going. At points I wasn't sure Malamud could keep up the suffering for much longer without the novel completely coming apart and going nowhere, but he does keep it together and offers an importan ...more
I had never heard of this award-winning 1966 classic, but I picked up The Fixer from my favourite bookstore, BMV, on the basis of Jonathan Safron Foer's forward. Once again, Foer got it right: The Fixer did not disappoint. It was a powerful, albeit difficult book to read.

The Fixer is the story of a poor Jewish handyman in Tzarist Russia who is framed for the murder of a Christian child. He is jailed awaiting trial, and subjected to the most gruesome and humiliating conditions imaginable.

I read this book in just over two days. I couldn't stop myself.

Although, the main character, Yakov Bok, endures the most extreme injustices, I don't think this book is just a story about suffering. I think this is more the story of a strong will transcending abuse.

Bernard Malamud fearlessly illustrates the atrocities perpetrated by a political machine that would single out one unfortunate Jewish individual to use as a catalyst for the genocide of his people. Bok is humiliated and tormented in
I couldn't put this book down, despite little cheeriness within the pages. I found this story of a Jew in early 20th century Russia, accused of a crime he did not commit, for reasons akin to a witch-hunt to be both horrifying and compelling. You know you're reading a gifted author when the thoughts of someone not leaving his cell for several years keeps you spellbound. Spoiler alert.......... I'm a little unsure of what I think of the endings in which you are dying to know what happens to the ch ...more
"There are no wrong books. What's wrong is the fear of them.”
The Fixer by Bernard Malamud
Exceptional, meaningful masterpiece that will stay vivid in the memory of the reader – 10 out of 10

After reading The Assistant it should come as no surprise that Bernard Malamud can create a masterpiece that may take your breath away at times.
The drama of The Fixer is so compelling that it will stay with you forever, unless you do not care about others and their suffering.
It is difficult to say how or why but I had a feeling that something wrong will happen to Yakov B
Brendan Walsh
The Fixer, is a compelling existential take on the existential dilemma's posed in the Biblical Story of Job (the author of the book's introduction points to it's resonance with Kafka's The Trial). Fed up with his life in the Russian provinces--his wife, having failed to bear him a child, has left the shtetl; and his work as a repair man barely gives him a living--Yakov Bok lights out for Kiev. There, he is offered a job by a man for whom he does a kindness. To get the job, however, Yakov conceal ...more
La Stamberga dei Lettori
La storia di Yakov Bok è una versione ucraina dell'affaire Dreyfus, con l'aggiunta della prigionia nelle carceri zariste, visto che la vicenda è ambientata prima della rivoluzione di Ottobre, e apre uno spiraglio su una realtà, la detenzione nella Russia degli zar, meno nota rispetto ai gulag di epoca staliniana.
Nello stesso tempo, nella parabola giudiziaria di un singolo, Malamud riepiloga tutta la tradizione dell'antisemitismo e la tragedia di un popolo e della cultura yiddish, interrogandosi
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La Stamberga dei ...: L'uomo di Kiev di Bernard Malamud 1 7 Apr 11, 2014 12:19PM  
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Bernard Malamud was an author of novels and short stories. Along with Saul Bellow and Philip Roth, he was one of the great American Jewish authors of the 20th century. His baseball novel, The Natural, was adapted into a 1984 film starring Robert Redford. His 1966 novel The Fixer, about antisemitism in Tsarist Russia, won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
More about Bernard Malamud...
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“Where to look if you've lost your mind?” 175 likes
“There are no wrong books. What's wrong is the fear of them.” 10 likes
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