Includes Malamud's novel, The People, which was left unfinished at the time of his death in 1986, with the text presented as the author left it, as well as fourteen previously uncollected stories. Set in the nineteenth century, The People has as its hero a Jewish peddler who is adopted as chief by an Indian tribe in the Pacific Northwest.
When Malamud died in 1986, he left the first draft of a novel and 16 uncollected stories, 10 published in literary magazines, the remaining six among his papers. Collected here, they provide an excellent overview of his career. Most of the stories focus on tired, bewildered, vulnerable men (many of them Jewish, another form of alienation) trying to make sense of an uncongenial world. Among those written in the last years of his life are some that can rank with his best. ``Zora's Noise'' concerns a second wife who hears mysterious celestial sounds, and her cellist husband, who finally understands their significance. A splendid example of Malamud's mingling of the fantastical and the real, it resonates with wisdom and compassionate understanding. ``An Exorcism'' is a story within a story about a lame, lonely writer betrayed by his protege. The unfinished novel, The People , is a strange and wonderful adventure story, whose protagonist, a greenhorn emigre peddler, Yozip Bloom, becomes chief of an Indian tribe expelled from their lands by duplicitous white men. Beginning as a funny western, it gradually segues into a dark tale of perfidy and misery; his outline shows, however, that Malamud intended to conclude it on an affirmative note. Valuable both for its chronological span and for the genuine reading pleasure it affords, this is a must-have volume for anyone who treasures the work of one of the century's most talented writers.