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Bernard Malamud: The Assistant

(Fiction, 246 pp. 1957)

Plagued by guilt after taking part in the robbery of a small New York grocery, Italian-American Frank Alpine tries to make good by taking a job helping the struggling shop’s poor Jewish owner.  As he works through his moral debt and falls in love with the grocer’s daughter, Frank undergoes a painful struggle to transcend the base instincts that engendered his criminal behavior.