The Fixer by Bernard Malamud
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 notorious "Beilis trial" of 1913 caused an international uproar that forced Russia to back down in the face of world indignation. The Beilis case is fictionalized along a highly similar story line. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1967. The novel is about Yakov Bok - a Jewish handyman or "fixer". Living in Kiev without official papers, Bok is arrested on suspicion of murder, when a Christian boy is killed during Passover. Jailed without being officially charged, and denied visitors or legal counsel, Bok is treated poorly and interrogated repeatedly. Among other things, he is asked about his political views, and replies that he is apolitical. During his many months in jail, he has time to contemplate his sad life and human nature in general. He finally finds it in his heart to forgive his former wife, who left him just before the novel began. This act of forgiveness is symbolically important in Bok's spiritual growth.