"...the extraordinary inside the mundane..."
Library of America has an interview with Bernard Malamud's biographer, Philip Davis.
Malamud puts the big within the small, the extraordinary inside the mundane, the struggling, and the hurt. There are geniuses who tower above us: Malamud’s genius was different, more like that of an ordinary man, made extraordinary by his hard-won literary power.
...he needs attentive readers now in defense of what literature is when it does not merely make a loud noise - readers who can know how big these small things are, even whilst Malamud stays loyal to their ostensible smallness. He took the risks of being neglected for the sake of something not facile, something deep.
Though a friend recommended reading Malamud's short stories first, I think I'll start with his novel The Assistant.