The Assistant

Finalist, National Book Awards 1958 for Fiction

cover of The Assistant by Bernard Malamud
ISBN 9780374504847
Farrar, Straus and Giroux | Farrar, Straus and Cudahy
Bernard Malamud author photo
Bernard Malamud

More about this author >

Award Years

Award Status

Award Categories

The Assistant, Bernard Malamud’s second novel, originally published in 1957, is the story of Morris Bober, a grocer in postwar Brooklyn, who wants better for himself and his family. First two robbers appear and hold him up; then things take a turn for the better when broken-nosed Frank Alpine becomes his assistant. But there are complications: Frank, whose reaction to Jews is ambivalent, falls in love with Helen Bober; at the same time he begins to steal from the store.

Like Malamud’s best stories, this novel unerringly evokes an immigrant world of cramped circumstances and great expectations. Malamud defined the immigrant experience in a way that has proven vital for several generations of writers.