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My Father is a Book

A Memoir of Bernard Malamud

List Price: $14.95

February 12, 2013 | Paperback | 5 x 8, 304 Pages | ISBN 9781619021013
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“[Smith] tenderly fills in the missing pieces of a man who exists as much on the page as he does in her memory.” —Vogue

Bernard Malamud was one of the most accomplished American novelists of the postwar years. From the Pulitzer Prize winner The Fixer as well as The Assistant, named one of the best “100 All-Time Novels” by Time—to mention only two of the more than a dozen published books—he not only established himself in the first rank of American writers but also took the country’s literature in new and important directions.

In her signature memoir, Smith explores her renowned father’s life and literary legacy. Malamud was among the most brilliant novelists of his era, and counted among his friends Philip Roth, Saul Bellow, Theodore Roethke, and Shirley Jackson. Yet Malamud was also very private. Only his family has had full access to his personal papers, including letters and journals that offer unique insight into the man and his work. In her candid, evocative, and loving memoir, his daughter brings Malamud to vivid life.

About Janna Malamud Smith

JANNA MALAMUD SMITH is the author of An Absorbing Errand: How Artists and Craftsmen Make Their Way to MasteryA Potent Spell: Mother Love and the Power of Fear; and Private Matters: In Defense of the Personal Life. Her titles have been New York Times Notable Books and A Potent Spell was a Barnes and Noble “Discover Great New Writers” pick. She has written for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and The Threepenny Review, among other publications. A practicing psychotherapist, she lives with her husband and two children in Massachusetts. For more information, visit


“[Smith] tenderly fills in the missing pieces of a man who exists as much on the page as he does in her memory.” —Vogue

“At once loving and lovely, a book worthy of the man.” —Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post

“Moving, unostentatiously eloquent… Analytical without being acrimonious, honest without wallowing in self-preening exposure, this is a wise, generous book full of insights…” —Christian Science Monitor

My Father Is a Book does what the best reminiscences of artists do: It leads us back to the work.” —Boston Globe

“This beautifully written book should do much to rekindle interest in Malamud’s work.” —Newsday

“Courageous… intimate… Smith is a passionate and uncompromising truth-teller, and it is by telling the truth that she has honored her father and mother as well as her readers.” —Los Angeles Times

“Deserving… generous-spirited… compelling.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Excellent…[a traditional] biography would be hard-pressed to match the emotional complexity and intensity that make this memoir hum with energy.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Keen and nuanced… A profound portrait of a loving father, a writer whose struggles with his own frailties fueled enduring works of literature.” —Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“Candid yet sensitive… exquisitely captures ‘the particular psychic pleasure and confusion’ of being the daughter of novelist/short-story writer Bernard Malamud… The author amply demonstrates that she has inherited her father’s unblinking moral scrutiny and sympathy for the yearning heart.” —Kirkus

“Smith’s own superior writing in My Father Is a Book beautifully evokes her father’s spirit and life, proving that talent runs in the family.” —Rocky Mountain News

“This book is a must for anyone interested in the work of Bernard Malamud, or, indeed, the writer’s life.” —Mary Gordon, author of The Liar’s Wife

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