Novelists Cheuse (The Light Possessed) and Delbanco (In the Name of Mercy) have assembled an impressive gathering of the late Malamud's essays, interviews, lectures and notes, a good number of which have never before been published. The collection reveals the author of The Natural and many other books as a dedicated craftsman and teacher, firmly connected to a larger Jewish literary tradition and animated by a deep-seated humanism and a sly wit. In addition to admirers of Malamud's fiction, this book should also be of considerable interest to aspiring writers, as Malamud is open and revealing about his own creative process, and consistently engaging in his often politicized and outspoken views on the artist's role in society. The book's biggest weakness lies in the fact that it is clearly a gathering of disparate occasional pieces, with considerable repetition. Malamud often uses the same examples to make the same point, sometimes almost quoting himself word for word. And while his comments on his own work and on the creative process are enduring, some of his comments on the cultural moment already feel dated. While readers may find themselves wishing the author himself had been given the opportunity to form these pieces into a larger whole, the collection is nevertheless filled with Malamud's distinctive and compassionate wisdom. (May)
Reviewed on: 07/14/1997 Release date: 06/01/1996 Genre: Fiction
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