Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

The Tenants
Bernard Malamud


The last remaining tenant in a condemned New York tenement, Harry Lesser struggles against rising panic and escalating odds to complete the novel he started ten years earlier. Then he stumbles on a black man, sitting typing in one of the deserted flats: Willie Spearmint, soul writer. Touchy, hostile and anti-semitic, demanding then denouncing Lesser’s critical help with his floridly violent tales of oppression, Spearmint is exactly what Lesser doesn’t need – or does he?

Paperback, 160pp
Vintage Classics, 1999 (1971)
ISBN 9780099289876