The Pawnbroker Returns

“The Pawnbroker” — the 1961 novel about  a concentration camp survivor who suffers flashbacks while operating a pawn shop in East Harlem — is an American classic.

It gets new life next month, when a new edition is published.

The PawnbrokerAuthor Edward Lewis Wallant will be once again thrust into the spotlight. He was part of a stellar roster of postwar authors — with Henry Roth, Bernard Malamud, Saul Bellow, John Cheever, J.D. Salinger and John Updike — but died of an aneurysm a year after “The Pawnbroker” was first published. He was just 36 years old.

Wallant had strong ties to Westport. He and his wife Joyce lived in Norwalk, but were immersed in the arts scene here.

They were friends with local artists and writers like Russell and Lillian Hoban, Larry Hill, Harvey Weiss, Stanley Bleifeld and Dan Wickenden.

Joyce later married Richard Malkin. They lived in Weston and Westport from 1965 on. Wallant’s 3 children — Scott, Leslie and Kim — attended schools in the 2 towns. Joyce was very involved in the Westport community.

Leslie Wallant

Leslie Wallant

Leslie Wallant’s love for literature was nurtured in both her family and the local schools. She’s written poetry and ad copy, and written and illustrated children’s books.

Her newest venture is a fantasy city based on the Periodic Table. It centers on the website, and blossoms into full novel fantasy adventures. Leslie is extending the fantasy with more books, a board game, figurines, trading cards, an app, video, and school workshops.

Her father would not recognize the world she lives in now. But he would be very, very proud.

5 responses to “The Pawnbroker Returns

  1. William Adler

    Congratulations to Leslie – it sounds like a wonderful book. I grew up with Scott and – you mention the late author and publisher Dan Wickenden – I was best friends with Dan and Hermie’s son David Wickenden growing up. Their daughter Dorothy Wickenden is executive editor of The New Yorker. Hermie is retired and living in Wilton. Another of my favorite contemporary novelists (from the days of Leslie and Scott’s dad) was Richard Yates, who wrote about upscale suburban towns much like Westport and has also enjoyed a posthumous revival, thankfully.

  2. Congrats to Leslie, and thanks for bringing it to our attention Dan!!

  3. linda (Pomerantz) Novis

    Hello Leslie,
    This is a small world…(which is why Dan’s blog here is so great)
    My sister,Nora & I went to school with you in Weston & our family lived next door to Dorothy Wickenden & her family for many years-(& yes,I do remember William Adler with David at their house!) and my dear old (late) dad -he worked in advertising in NYC in the ’60’s–he often talked of the Westport train commute with your dad,Ed, & others,back then.
    Best wishes for your continued success.

    • Not such a small world as I’ve known you for years, that is, Nora’s big sister. I’d love to catch up with you and find how Nora is. Yes, both my Dad and step-Dad were also MAD Men…as was I for awhile. Best wishes to you also.