Janna Malamud Smith

My Father is a Book: A Memoir of Bernard Malamud


On the twentieth anniversary of Bernard Malamud's death, Janna Malamud Smith explores her father's private, unpublished letters and journals to remember the life of a seminal writer of our time. Malamud left New York, his immigrant father's failing grocery store, and his mother's madness, for a humble teaching position at an Oregon agricultural college. Smith remembers his demanding, ambitious writing schedule and the fragile balance of his marriage, but also his charm, humor and devotion. She evokes the heady culture of Bennington and Harvard in the sixties and reveals her father's intimacies - and her own - in that radically changing time.

Selected Works

Non-fiction
"[A] comprehensive, insightful, and articulate guide for everyone who has ever attempted to make art." --San Francisco Chronicle
"Beautiful...A must for anyone interested in the work of Bernard Malamud, or the writer's life..." Mary Gordon
“a gorgeously written anecdotal cultural history of the emergence and the fragile sanctity of the modern creative self…”
-The New York Times Book Review
“reads like a deep, intelligent conversation with a valued woman friend.”
--Ottawa Citizen
"Fascinating. . . provocative."
--Washington Post