The Assistant is the story of a penniless drifter who befriends a poor Jewish grocer and falls in love with the grocer’s daughter, and finds himself on a path toward self-knowledge, moral renewal and ultimately conversion.
This is the first book by Malamud I’ve ever read and I can honestly say i’m not even one bit disappointed. I love the jewish grocer’s dignity and frank’s moral renewal, which though I must mention is almost obsolete in human character and only can be seen in an ideal society.
The American dream is cleverly described in Bernard Malamud’s book, The Assistant. Bober, the main character, is a recent Russian immigrant who is trying to run a grocery store in Brooklyn in the late 1800s. A new grocery store is making him loose costumers, and the store is being supported mostly by his daughters pay checks. Malamund is able to describe the stress and desperation of Bobers’s predicament. Just when Bober considers giving up the business, He meets Frank Alpine. And when Frank crosses paths with Bober, they start to take on a father-son relationship, and the story begins to develop rapidly. The characterization in Malamud¿s work is fantastic. The characters are honestly displayed with both positive and negative aspects. The scene of the story is also interesting. New York at that time was very diverse and unique, and Malamud captures that with his descriptions of the many outdoor scenes where Frank looks deep within his soul. The book puts in perspective the troubles immigrants and new business owners have, and the importance of work ethics and honesty.
I would certainly recommend this book to everybody.