For his fourth book, Malamud has written a moving, funny, satiric third novel. Perhaps not as perfect in form as The Assistant, it is rich in ideas, paradox and the variety of human nature. Levin, a beginning teacher of English at 30, moves from his native New York City to the new world of the Pacific Northwest to teach in a state college. Because the college is devoted to turning out farmers and engineers, he meets his first frustration by not being able to deal in ideas, but he still is full of hope and excitement at entering a new life and leaving the failures of the past behind. Looking for highminded, stimulating faculty members, he finds selfishness, conformity, cowardice, jealousy, opportunism and hypocrisy. Hoping for a basic change in himself, he discovers still the loneliness, fear, and weaknesses he had hoped to escape as well as a determined love and idealism turned toward the future. Searching for love, he has only love affairs. Fighting for a cause in which he believes, he uses deceit. Trying to fulfill himself, he becomes emptied. On the verge of winning everything he wants, he loses. But he will go on... Levin is one of the most appealingly, sadly, funnily human people in recent fiction and A New Life is a wonderful book.