Edward Lewis Wallant
Fig Tree Books
9781941493144, $15.95, 279pp, www.amazon.com
Synopsis: At 45, Nazerman, who survived Bergen-Belsen although his wife and children did not, runs a Harlem pawnshop. But the operation is only a front for a gangster who pays Nazerman a comfortable salary for his services. Nazerman's dreams are haunted by visions of his past tortures. Remarkable for its attempts to dramatize the aftereffects of the Holocaust, "The Pawnbroker" is likewise valuable as an exploration of the fraught relationships between Jews and other American minority groups. That this unique novel, a National Book Award finalist, remains so powerful today makes it all the more tragic that its talented author died, at age 36, the year after its publication. The book sold more than 500,000 copies soon after it was published.
Critique; Arguably a masterpiece of contemporary American literature, "The Pawnbroker" is very highly recommended for both community and academic library collections. A compelling and inherently absorbing read from beginning to end, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Pawnbroker" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).