I also felt that these stories were told in the style of Jewish folklore which is today an almost a forgotten form of Jewish literature.
Whether Stella is the fallen woman Salzman has suggested and Leo has visualized, is uncertain. Or has his moment passed, along with The Bintel Brief and the tales of Cossacks marauding through the neighborhood? In every story, I discovered more of the remarkably vivid physical descriptions that had first drawn me to Malamud, enabling me not only to picture his characters visually, but to glimpse them from within.
Part V Shortly after, Leo finally meets Stella on a spring night. Before the seventeenth century, the shadchen was a highly respected person, responsible for the perpetuation of the Jewish people through arranged marriages. Malamud's stories deal with pinched urban lives, struggles to make ends more-or-less meet, or carefully planned respites disrupted by unexpected demands on hard-earned, limited savings; they are grounded in the mundane material, a banality that characters try to escape from into writing, study, art, fantasised romance.
The understanding and art of Salzman have brought about a prospect of happiness.
Who has moral authority in the story, old Salzman or young Finkle? This complicated character makes him controversial. Part IV Leo cannot stop thinking of Stella.
I had heard of The Natural, his novel about baseball which had made its way to the screen. Hoffer compares the five-part structure of the story to the Torah the first five books of the Old Testamentthe sacred text of Judaism and claims that Leo has broken a majority of the ten commandments.