Archive for the ‘Fiction Bernard Malamud’ Category

I’d like to write about my very first read of a brilliant writer-author, Bernard Malamud. During my Creative Writing classes, he was not mentioned at all in any of my years of studying a concentration of fiction. Maybe some professors have students read him, but honest I had never heard of him until last week.
I needed a book cover for my short stories, so I began my search. Lo and behold, I found a cover of this author’s book and other Jewish authors with beautiful covers. Of course, I looked at his book cover for “The Magic Barrel Stories,” and read excerpts from the book. It felt like I had struck gold.
Then I had to buy this particular book; it’s like a gift to myself, it’s really a wonderful work of 13 short stories.

Malamud is different from the author I’ve read before. He writes only what he needs to write for the reader to get into the stories he has inside his head. He wastes NO SPACE. It’s all filled with the characters he writes about in such a way that fancy literary terms-words are not needed.

The Magic Barrel Stories¬†won a U.S. National Book Award for Fiction in 1958. I haven’t read this author’s bio. yetI will. Malamud brings the characters in his short stories to life and makes it look so easy.
I just finished his “The Girl of My Dreams” and I have to comment about my take on it.

Malamud’s “The Girl of My Dreams” is about an author who finds himself with writers block that most of us have experienced at some point in his or her lives. His main character is Mitka, a writer. The first line we can all understand:

After Mitka had burned the manuscript of his heartbroken novel in the blackened bottom of Mrs. Lutz’s rusty trash can in her back yard although the emotional landlady tried all sorts of bait and schemes to lure him forth, and he could tell as he lay abed from the new sounds on the floor and her penetrating perfume, that there was an unattached female loose on the premises (wonderful possibility of yore), he resisted all and with a twist of the key had locked himself a prisoner in his room, only venturing out after midnight for crackers and tea and an occasional can of fruit; and this went on for too many weeks to count.

That’s a lot of words but it’s one sentence–the first sentence of his story and it proves effective. Somehow, we, the readers, know he is going to let his writers block burn out and run its course. I will not revel spoilers about how the story ends. I will only say that this is the story of a man who is disgusted and feels he can’t write anymore. He retreats within himself and lives like a recluse. The character decides to chuck it all. Mitka eventually uses his God given talent for writing to his advantage, at the end of the story. I loved all the stories, but this one spoke to me, for I have either wanted to burn stories I wrote or just wad the paper up and toss it.
If you haven’t read #Malamud then discover him and his amazing way of writing.