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El reparador

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  7,332 Ratings  ·  357 Reviews
Tired of his unfruitful existence, Yakov Bok moves to Kiev during Tsar Nicolas II’s reign to seek a better future. He soon finds work, but is forced to keep his Jewish identity a secret. However, after the murder of a Russian boy too close to his workplace, he is accused of carrying out the crime. And in a time of anti-Semitic virulence, there won’t be a lack of witnesses, ...more
Paperback, 328 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Sexto Piso Editorial (first published 1966)
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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
Aug 28, 2013 Mara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 22, 2013 Ademption rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tracy Shapley
Aug 28, 2010 Tracy Shapley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer, favorites
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
Ian Pardo
Apr 02, 2011 Ian Pardo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 09, 2016 William1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, us, 20-ce
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
Oct 11, 2011 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 26, 2015 Ted rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Nov 15, 2012 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
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
Yair Ben-Zvi
Mar 15, 2013 Yair Ben-Zvi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 23, 2013 Ensiform rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ken Deshaies
Apr 13, 2013 Ken Deshaies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 29, 2013 Marvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Simon Wood
Dec 17, 2013 Simon Wood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Feb 12, 2014 Joey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fictions
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
Mar 09, 2014 Giovanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Vey iz mir”, povero me. È un'espressione che Jakov Bok, il protagonista di questo libro, ripete più volte e che si può considerare la sintesi dell'intera vicenda. La disgrazia si abbatte inesorabile su Jakov, che viene coinvolto in un terribile meccanismo giudiziario volto ad annientarlo per motivi di ordine ideologico, e non certo per la sua colpevolezza. La sua colpa è di essere ebreo nella Russia zarista pervasa da ondate di antisemitismo. La condizione in cui in cui Jakov Bok, “libero pensa ...more
Apr 25, 2014 Artemisia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 03, 2014 Tony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 04, 2015 Kim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-again
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
May 02, 2015 Natalie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
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...
Oct 25, 2015 Vishal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What is victory, but a victory in the heart? What is the greatest freedom, but the freedom of the mind?

In the Fixer, Yakov Bok is a man accused of a brutal crime, and is forced to see new depths of human degradation every day during his imprisonment. His suffering hasn’t just begun then; no, his suffering began since time immemorial, when his people were persecuted for their beliefs, and subjected to vile, violent and senseless racism (not that racism has any sense in the first place).

‘In or o
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
Ubik 2.0
Jun 13, 2015 Ubik 2.0 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-e-book
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
This book was definitely thought-provoking and interesting, but it was depressing. So depressing. Every time there was a glimmer of hope, there was something to extinguish it. It was hard to read in large chunks. I don't think I can say I enjoyed reading it, but it sparked conversation with my husband and made me think about history and prejudice. Worth reading, but a super downer.
Nov 14, 2015 Karyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fiction
"If I have any philosophy, it's that life could be better than it is."

"What suffering has taught me is the uselessness of suffering."

What can I possibly add to this? Read it for yourself. I highly recommend it, but it may not be for the faint of heart.
Craig Werner
May 26, 2016 Craig Werner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sixties, american-lit
Although I've read a bunch of Malamud, somehow I'd missed The Fixer, which won all the major American book awards in 1967. While I probably prefer The Tenants, Malamud's undervalued difficult confrontation with Black-Jewish literary relations, The Fixer deserves most of its reputation. Clearly grounded in the tradition of philosophical Russian fiction, the Dostoyevskian strain that also shaped Saul Bellow's early work and hence, somewhat paradoxically (given Fyodor's bouts of anti-Semitism) are ...more
Sep 11, 2016 Mona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WHY DID I CHOSE THIS BOOK: It is a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner.
SUMMARY: A sad handyman moves to the big city after his wife leaves him and soon finds himself caught up in events that could cost him his life.
REVIEW: I had tried to read this book - or twice before. It seemed slow and the description of village life and the fixer’s marriage was boring. But once I got past that - once the fixer is out of his element things heat up. What I will call the thriller element, was engagi
Edward Sullivan
A mesmerizing story, intensely harrowing and hellish.
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La Stamberga dei ...: L'uomo di Kiev di Bernard Malamud 1 8 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.
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