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Pictures of Fidelman: An Exhibition
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Pictures of Fidelman: An Exhibition

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  184 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Arthur Fidelman, Bronx-born and raised, is a self-confessed failure as a painter. When he goes to Italy to prepare a critical study of Giotto, a zany adventure ensues. Pursued through the streets of Rome by the refugee Susskind, forced to abandon Giotto, feeling a reawakening desire to create art, falling into the hands of art thieves, hand-carving wooden Madonnas for sale ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published November 1st 1975 by Pocket Books (first published January 1st 1969)
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Feb 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Close to where I live is a very cluttered antique shop. It is actually a house and every room is packed to the brim with odds and ends. At the back is a room full of second hand books. One wall is covered floor to ceiling with old penguin books, many of them first editions. They cost between £1 and £1.50 each. This book was one of those. If you’re ever in Lincoln it’s worth looking in.
This is the first Malamud I’ve read. It is a set of inter-connected stories about Arthur Fidelman, an American
Erik Wyse
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful, picaresque exploration of art, genius, and mastery. Certain sections had surprisingly experimental portions, bending form and structure.
Wilde Sky
Jan 12, 2018 rated it liked it
A man travels to Italy to complete a study of an artist and gets involved in a number of adventures.

I found most of this book very dated / slow. The last 15 or so pages (reflecting on life / art / talent) were interesting.
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
A sometimes-picaresque series of short stories about a failed artist adrift in Italy. More specifically, Fidelman is a failing artist, one who constantly refuses to learn from past failure and tries again, and always fails again except for a brief period when he becomed indigent and wanders from town to town making and exhibiting square holes dug in the ground. Eventually, Fidelman learns from a gay Venetian glass blower that there's no point in clinging to failure, and goes back to America wher ...more
Chris Marquette
Feb 18, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was extremely disappointed in this, having loved Malamud's The Fixer. These connected short stories were mostly terrible. Though funny at times, I found no depth; Fidelman remains unchanged at the end of the book. Nothing is accomplished except that the story becomes progressively more obscene and perverse. Usually impressed by Malamud, I was depressed after finishing this.
Gary Peterson
Malamud's 1969 collection of all six Arthur Fidelman short stories is no magic barrel; more a mixed bag. A couple are are very good, a couple are pretty good, and a couple are very bad.


"The Last Mohican" from 1958 is good, recounting Fidelman's arrival in Italy and his being immediately set upon by the beggar Susskind. In this story Fidelman is researching Giotto, and when his manuscript is discovered missing, his creativity collapses like a house of cards. I enjoyed this
Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Series of related stories exploring art and life through a failed Bronx artist living in Italy. Though mostly straightforward, Malamud occasionally experiments with narrative form. While it's not as good as many of his novels, it's an often funny and engaging read.
Chiara Tinelli
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
Ho conosciuto Malamud con questo libro, da tutti considerato il peggiore della sua produzione. A suo modo lo trovo sensazionale: narra di un giovanotto americano, Arthur Fidelman, giunto in Italia con tante ambizioni e buoni propositi. Uno strano e sgradevole incontro a Roma lo segna per sempre e la sua vita prende una piega insolita: a Milano, a Firenze e a Venezia, dovunque si trasferisca per trovare un senso e una collocazione, Fidelman si ritrova sconfitto, umiliato, un mediocre senza speran ...more
Feb 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had already read the first story many years ago and never forgot it so was glad to find the whole group of six stories. The bohemian life of an American artist living in mid twentieth-century Italy weaves its spell but at bottom the stories are about the relation of the artist to his art. Each story has a plot. The Lumen edition, a Spanish translation by Andres Bosch, maintains Malamud's style.
Ovidiu Sky
Nov 05, 2007 rated it it was ok
A very good novel about an artist Arthur Fidelman, that is searching for a better life by learning the secrets of art. In fact, the novel is about Arthur Fidelman searching for his own path in life, trying to discover himself.
The novel also have many many situation that are extremly funny for the reader. Good Book!
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
I reread The Natural a couple of years ago and enjoyed it - a sort of half zen/fantasy view of the real world. Well Fidelman was a less successful effort to do the same. There wasn't the spark that made you care about the main character who seemed for most of the book just hopeless.
Jul 03, 2013 rated it liked it
I was already thoroughly bored with the pretentious artist of the book's title when all kinds of weird stuff began to occur. At this point I almost about put it down, but glad I didn't because the ending's rather nice, in a twisted sort of way.
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
The story of Fidelman, an American Jew who saves his money to study art in Italy. Each story finds him in a worse situation, but he never stops having epiphanies about art, love, and life. His romantic entwinement with a painter is reminiscent of an Anais Nin story.
Jan 22, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Malamud was best when he wasn't experimenting...
Jon Chater
Aug 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
I may need to come back to this book as my memory of 20 years ago that it was not very good. It was pretentious and playing with form and structure for the sake of it.
Maybe I was too young?
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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