Love and darkness are just two of the powerful forces that run through Amos Oz's extraordinary, moving story. He takes us on a bold, seductive journey through his childhood and adolescence, a quixotic child's eye view along Jerusalem's wartorn streets in the 1940s and '50s, and into the infernal marriage of two kind, well-meaning people: his fussy ...
Love and darkness are just two of the powerful forces that run through Amos Oz's extraordinary, moving story. He takes us on a bold, seductive journey through his childhood and adolescence, a quixotic child's eye view along Jerusalem's wartorn streets in the 1940s and '50s, and into the infernal marriage of two kind, well-meaning people: his fussy, logical father, and his dreamy, romantic mother. Caught between them is one small boy with the weight of generations on his shoulders. And at the tragic heart of the tale is the suicide of his mother, when Amos was twelve-and-a-half years old. Soon after, still a gawky adolescent, he left home, changed his name and became a tractor driver on a kibbutz. 'Jews go back to Palestine' urged the graffiti in 1930s Lithuania, so they went; then later the walls of Europe shouted 'Jews get out of Palestine'. Oz's story dives into 120 years of family history and paradox, the saga of a Jewish love-hate affair with Europe that sweeps from Vilna and Odessa, via Poland and Prague, to Israel. Those who stayed in Europe were murdered; those who escaped took the past with them. In search of the roots of his family tragedy, he uncovers the secrets and skel
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Publishers Weekly, 2004-11-15 This memoir/family history brims over with riches: metaphors and poetry, drama and comedy, failure and success, unhappy marriages and a wealth of idiosyncratic characters. Some are lions of the Zionist movement-David Ben-Gurion (before whom a young Oz made a terrifying command appearance), novelist S.Y. Agnon, poet Saul Tchernikhovsky-others just neighbors and family friends, all painted lovingly and with humor. Though set mostly during the author's childhood in Jerusalem of the 1940s and '50s, the tale is epic in scope, following his ancestors back to Odessa and to Rovno in 19th-century Ukraine, and describing the anti-Semitism and Zionist passions that drove them with their families to Palestine in the early 1930s. In a rough, dusty, lower-middle-class suburb of Jerusalem, both of Oz's parents found mainly disappointment: his father, a scholar, failed to attain the academic distinction of his uncle, the noted historian Joseph Klausner. Oz's beautiful, tender mother, after a long depresson, committed suicide when Oz (born in 1939) was 12. By the age of 14, Oz was ready to flee his book-crammed, dreary, claustrophobic flat for the freedom and outdoor life of Kibbutz Hulda. Oz's personal trajectory is set against the background of an embattled Palestine during WWII, the jubilation after the U.N. vote to partition Palestine and create a Jewish state, the violence and deprivations of Israel's war of independence and the months-long Arab siege of Jerusalem. This is a powerful, nimbly constructed saga of a man, a family and a nation forged in the crucible of a difficult, painful history. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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