Bernard MalamudBorn: April 26, 1914 Brooklyn, New YorkDied March 18, 1986 (aged 71) Manhattan, New YorkOccupation AuthorNationality United StatesGenres novel, short story
Quote by Bernard Malamud"Without heroes wewould all be plainpeople and wouldntknow how far we cango."
A Summer’s ReadingFirst Published: 1956Type of Plot: Social realismTime of Work: The mid-twentieth centurySetting: New York City : The BronxCharacters: George Stoyonovich, Sophie Stoyonovich, His father, Mr. CattanzaraGenres: Short fiction
George StoyonovichA nineteen-year-old high-school dropout livingaimlessly in the working-class neighborhood inBrooklyn. He "considered registering in a nighthigh school" but "he did not like the idea of theteachers always telling him what to do. He feltthey had not respected him."
Sophie StoyonovichGeorges elder sister, a "tall bony girl of twenty-three" who works at a cafeteria in the Bronx.She has to take care of the house because theirmother was dead. She sometimes reads "goodbooks."
Mr. CattanzaraA "stocky, bald-headed man who works in achange booth on a [subway] station," living onthe next block to Georges. He reads the NewYork Times "from the first page to the last"; inshort, he is the "intellectual" of theneighborhood. Sometimes he drinks too much.
What is in a name?George Stoyonovich – suggests he is from aYugoslavian immigrant family whereas MrCattanzara’ name suggests he is from an ItalianImmigrant family.Some people suggest that these names mean: Cattanzara meaning "chained" Stoyonovich meaning "stay put“(I could not find any proof of this but it does make a good story)
George’s FamilySister: Sophie works in a cafeteriaFather: Works in a Fish marketMother : Died
Interviewhttp://www.newyorker.com/online/2008/07/21/080721on_audio_hemonAleksandar Hemon discusses Bernard Malamud’s shortstory “A Summer’s Reading” with The New Yorker’sfiction editor, Deborah Treisman.. “A Summer’s Reading” was published in The NewYorker in September, 1956, and is collected in “TheComplete Stories.”
Watchwordsthe Bronx section of New York Cityrailroad flat apartment near railwayball game base ballworld almanac mini encyclopediaNews and Mirror working class newspaperdough moneydrifted wandered slowly
Watchwordschange booth a place where you get change (right amount of money to pay for the train)New York Times serious newspaper read by educated peoplesquirt small thin boyshoot the breeze discuss somethingnickel 5 centbuck dollar2 bits 25 cents
Chronology of Events• Nearly four years ago, George Stoyonovich had quit high school "on an impulse" when he was sixteen.• "This summer" [the beginning of the story] is a hard time for jobs and George, now "close to twenty", has none. Having no money to spend, he stays off the streets and spends most of the day in his room. Sophie urges him to read some "worthwhile books" but he is in no mood for them: "Lately he couldnt stand made-up stories, they got on his nerves."• One evening, while on his walk, George meets Mr. Cattanzara coming home very late from work. George tells him that he is reading one hundred great books in the library list. He wants Mr. Cattanzara to respect him.
• "After that", George does nothing different from usual but he finds the people in the neighborhood start calling him "a good boy." He feels himself being respected because of the books he is not reading.• "As the summer went on George felt in a good mood about things." He occasionally buys paperback books but he never gets around to reading them. Yet, "he could could feel approval on all sides." "For a few weeks" he talks only once with Mr. Cattanzara, who says nothing about the books. George decides to stay away from "the change maker."
• Then one night" George sees Mr. Cattanzara, a little drunk, walking toward him. He hands a nickel to George, saying "Go buy yourself a lemon ice, George," as he used to do when George was a "squirt." Asked to name one book on the list he has read so far, George cannot answer. After saying, "George, dont do what I did," Mr. Cattanzara leaves.• "The next night" George is afraid to leave his room. Sophie finds out that his brother is not reading a single book on the list and calls him a "bum."
• "One night," after staying in his room "for almost a week" George sneaks to the park unable to stand the heat. Unexpectedly, he finds people still friendly to him. A man on a street corner asks him if it is true that "he had finished reading so many books."• "After a couple of days," George sees Mr. Cattanzara again. He feels that Mr. Cattanzara "had started the rumor that he had finished all the books."
• "One evening in the fall," George runs to the library and "though he was struggling to control an inward trembling, he easily counted off a hundred, then sat down at a table to read."• http://www2.dokkyo.ac.jp/~esemi006/malamud/art/st_magic_barrel.htm#asr