Fall 1958 • Vol. XX No. 4 Book ReviewsOctober 1, 1958 |

Jewish Stories

The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud. Garrar, Straus & Cudahy. Altogether too many points require to be made about Bernard Malamud and his stories. He tells, straightforwardly and naturally, stories full of homey people and homely incident. Their realistic, often drab, surface betrays frequent gleams of fantasy. More than most of his contemporaries, he is engaged in making a case for such old-fashioned virtues as kindness, charity, and sympathy. Jewish themes and characters dominate his work, and, in fact, to trace the Jewish pattern is to take the most accessible means of getting into Malamud's writings. Most of Malamud's fiction is Jewish in its themes, its tone, and its content. I am thinking particularly of his second novel, The Assistant, and of most of the stories in The Magic Barrel. In his first novel, The Natural, he draws upon an equally solid and distinct world which rests upon a newer and more strictly secular tradition—the universe of baseball. If Malamud b

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