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The Magic Barrel Paperback – Bargain Price, July 7, 2003
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"There are thirteen stoires in The Magic Barrel and every one of them is a small, highly individualized work of art. This is the kind of book that calls for not admiration but gratitude."--Richard Sullivan, The Chicago Tribune
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The short stories featured in this anthology are well written, accessible - although at times obscure, incorporate well developed characters, are full of pathos - aptly capturing the sufferings of the Jewish people, and will go down in the annals of history as one of the finest short story collections of all time.
Bernard Malamud saved the best for last, with the namesake of this anthology, The Magic Barrel, which won him the National Book Award, serving as the culmination of this collection of short stories; an endearing tale revolving around a priest falling deeply in love with a prostitute and attempting to bring about her redemption - a touching and poignant theme that speaks about redemption and second chances.
He can be mystical, comical or tragic. He succeeds at wriiting memorably whatever style he selects.
I chose to read Bernard Malamud because Joe Hill referenced him in his short story "Pop Art". He said something to the effect of Malamud being a character's favorite author because he understood loneliness. I found this to be incontrovertibly true, and was the very aspect I enjoyed most about his stories. I don't plan to read any more Malamud, but I do not regret having read this book.
Craig Heard, New York, NY
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