Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Amos Oz: A Tale of Love and Darkness

I wanted to read this book already last Christmas, then I forgot about it. This Christmas I was thinking about books I should read, and I remembered Amos Oz. I bought three e-books of him. This book you could buy only in paper book format, so I had to order it, and it was waiting for me when I returned to Helsinki after Christmas and from Berlin.

Nowadays I certainly believe that sometimes we achieve things later as we planned, because we have to get first mature enough to appreciate and understand them. I am glad that I read this book now, because I think I could understand it much more now what it is really about.

A Tale of Love and Darkness is a very unique book. As a background story we can follow how the state of Israel was established, in the meantime we get to know the writer`s family and as a second main line we can follow the silent life of her mother as it moves towards a tragic end.
A state is being built, the family is full of funny personalities, still in the background there is a person who is silently suffering. For her this country is not really what she dreamed of, the life she can live there is not the one she was planning for herself. She does not rebel, just does silently what everyone excepts from her to do, but once something gets broken and there is no return.

Amos Oz, photo source:

A quote from Linda Grant`s review of the book in The Guardian:

"Oz's memoir, A Tale of Love and Darkness, thought to be the biggest-selling literary work in Israeli history, is an exploration of why his mother killed herself, and the effect on him, a sensitive, intelligent boy growing up in Jerusalem during the last years of the British mandate and the war of independence. It is one of the funniest, most tragic and most touching books I have ever read. I am a great admirer of Oz as a novelist, of his spare, quiet portraits of intimacy between couples, but here, in this long book, he reveals a huge talent for the big narrative picture, for Dickensian character portraits and an expert fusion of history and personal life."

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