“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.
Author 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’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 ElemMates.com 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.