Fidelman's Exhibition had its original vernissage in three of the six stories which appeared (since retouched) in The Magic Barrel and Idiots First. Artur Fidelman, aging boy from the Bronx, attempts to become Arturo Fidelman, painter in Italy, and these episodes involve his Wanderjahre through some of the more aromatic back-streets of Rome, where he's beleaguered by a Jew of Jews and refugee of refugees, one Susskind; Florence, where he's taking out the garbage of Annamaria who uses and abuses him before she tosses him out of her bed and where he's recruited by some lesser thieves into making a copy of a Titian; also where he spends years trying to paint a "Kaddish"--a Mother and Son, his uncreated masterpiece, which finally becomes the sum of its originals--Prostitute and Procurer (he's been pimping for his model Esmerelda); and finally in Venice where a glassblower Beppo teaches him another art as well as another kind of love. Beppo also tries to make him see that "half a talent is worse than none" which somehow Fidelman is able to controvert. He's in the tradition of Malamud's hapless heroes which Marcus Klein called the school of slapstick angst; the funny, sad, self-confessed failure who, while he never succeeds, still triumphs. Unquestionably.