Some novels are hard to read because they are badly written; a few are hard to read because they are very well written.
The Fixer is one of those few.
The Fixer: a novel by Bernard Malamud
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1966. 335 pp. 1966 bestseller #6. My grade: A.
Bok is one of those people who seem to be natural victims. He never causes trouble: It finds him.
A Russian boy, 12, has been found murdered.
Tzarist Russia, viciously anti-Semitic, sees not a murder but a Jewish ritual slaying to provide blood to use in making Passover matzos.
Though Bok is only “a Jew by birth and nationality,” he finds himself arrested and charged with a murder he didn’t commit.
Bernard Malamud puts readers into Bok’s mind as his misery pushes him to the edge of insanity.
For nearly his entire two-and-a-half-year pre-trial imprisonment, Bok is kept in solitary confinement, denied reading material or exercise, watched by a silent “eye in the hole” of his cell door.
Bok’s refusal to confess embarrasses the government.
It also makes Bok a public figure.
Readers never learn what happens to the fixer when he finally goes to trial, but they will never forget having met him.
©2016 Linda Gorton Aragoni