Danny Fisher

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A Stone for Danny Fisher

A Stone For Danny Fisher is a very serious, early novel by Harold Robbins that looks at the effect of the Great Depression on a lower-middle class Jewish family. Written in 1952 it is actually set in the period up to 1944.

The novel opens in the mid-1920's as a young Danny Fisher and his family move in to a new house in the Brooklyn suburbs. Within a few years, however, the Depression hits and Danny is forced to drop out of school and use his one talent, boxing, as a means of supporting his family.
A few years further on, the family have lost their house and are living in a mean apartment in the City. Danny continues to box, much against his father's wish, and dates a young Italian Catholic girl - much to the chagrin of his mother's Jewishness.
Danny's boxing skills attract the attention of the local hoodlums and he is offered a large sum of money to throw the 'Golden Gloves' championship - a fight he could win easily and would bring him professional fame as well as, it is hoped, his father's acceptance.
Danny accepts the bribe but beats his opponent. After going on the run for a few years in Coney Island, he returns to marry his Italian sweetheart but their early married life is marred by the death of their first born child in poverty.
At this point, Danny seeks out his former manager and goes into business with him as a black marketeer - an event which surely brings him in to contact with the very hoods he ripped off previously. The conclusion to the story, with Danny's gory machine-gun death in counterpoint to arrival of new life, is inevitable.