What is the common thread shared by a book of stories? What is it about each one that determines its inclusion with the others? Scenes from Village Life
, Amos Oz's latest collection, provides us with a treasure trove of ideas to ponder.
While initially these stories seem to be very much about Israeli life and culture, in fact, they are so much more. They speak of relationships each one of us wrestles with at some time - with ourselves, with the land, and with mortality (to name a few). Each one is achingly evocative and haunting, and though all the stories stand alone, main characters in one sometimes appear in the background of another; the idea being that no matter how solitary our lives may seem, we are a part of others' narratives as well - past, present, and future.
Oz sets his stories in the fictional farming village of Tel Ilan, the goings on of...
Beyond the Book
In the story "Strangers," two characters have a discussion about how writers choose their subject matter. "There are some subjects and motifs that a writer comes back to again and again because apparently they come from the root of his being."
There is nothing more true that could be said about Amos Oz, Israel's best known novelist and journalist. Having written over 20 books and 450 articles, his work has sought to define aspects of Israeli life. He is considered one of Israel's most influential and well-regarded intellects.
Born Amos Klausner in Jerusalem in 1939, his parents were right-wing...