Books: The Good Grocer

THE ASSISTANT (246 pp.) — Bernard Malamud— Farrar, Straus & Cudahy ($3.50).

In his first novel, The Natural, Bernard Malamud brought a southpaw wackiness, plus a few touches of cloudy symbolism, to the subject of baseball (TIME. Sept. 8, 1952). In his second book he goes deeper into human nature, and the result is an even more impressive novel to delight admirers in the growing Malamud salon.

Again he takes a familiar, almost mythical theme, turns it upside down and irradiates it with originality. His hero is Morris Bober, an aging Brooklyn grocer who is clinging to solvency by his fingertips. But Morris...

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