The Fixer is a 1966 novel by Bernard Malamud inspired by the true story of Menahem Mendel Beilis, an unjustly imprisoned Jew in Tsarist Russia. The book won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1967.
A great contrast to Native Son,. While Bigger Thomas is completely unwilling to face responsibility for his actions and rather prefers to grumble about the lack of opportunity he has had, Yakov Bok lives in an environment of pogroms and fear for the minorities in a mercurial tsarist Russia. Bok's only real crime is living in an area designated for no Jews to live in. He is a hard worker, kind and compassionate and yet when a christian boy is killed, because he is a Jew, living in the vicinity of the crime he is accused of the murder. The majority of the book deals with Bok in prison, and while Bigger is eating steaks, Bok is eating maggots or being poisoned. While Bigger is reading one of the dozens of papers brought in for him to read, Bok is sneaking glances as the torn newspaper fragments he's given to use as toilet paper. There is no Justice. The system is unapologetic. Although there is no evidence against Bok, besides his nationality the prejudice is unrelenting. He is forced to suffer through strip searches multiple times a day simply for the added humiliation. The system is designed to humiliate. To destroy ones pride and humanity, and yet Bok emerges as a true hero, never willing to surrender his innocence or compromise his integrity.