The Magic Barrel

Winner, National Book Awards 1959 for Fiction

cover of The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud
ISBN 9780374525866
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Bernard Malamud author photo
Bernard Malamud

More about this author >

Award Years

Award Status

Award Categories

From the publisher:

Bernard Malamud’s first book of short stories, The Magic Barrel, has been recognized as a classic from the time it was published in 1959. The stories are set in New York and in Italy (where Malamud’s alter ego, the struggleing New York Jewish Painter Arthur Fidelman, roams amid the ruins of old Europe in search of his artistic patrimony); they tell of egg candlers and shoemakers, matchmakers, and rabbis, in a voice that blends vigorous urban realism, Yiddish idiom, and a dash of artistic magic.

The Magic Barrel is a book about New York and about the immigrant experience, and it is high point in the modern American short story. Few books of any kind have managed to depict struggle and frustration and heartbreak with such delight, or such artistry.