In the village of Tel Ilan, something is off kilter. An elderly man complains to his daughter that he hears the sound of digging under his house at night. Could it be his tenant, a young Arab? But then the tenant hears the mysterious digging sounds too. The mayor receives a note from his wife: "Don't worry about me." He looks all over, no sign of her. The veneer of new wealth around the village - gourmet restaurants and art galleries, a winery - cannot conceal abandoned outbuildings, disused air raid shelters, rusting farm tools, and trucks left wherever they stopped.
Amos Oz's novel-in-stories is a brilliant, unsettling glimpse of what goes on beneath the surface of everyday life. Scenes from Village Life is a parable for Israel, and for all of us.
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 at times, we are a part of others' narratives as well - past, present, and future. (Reviewed by BJ Nathan Hegedus).
All the dead ends make for an unsatisfying collection.
Filled with tension and allegory, Oz's perceptive tales explore the nuance and alienation of transitioning states.
Starred Review. Oz (Rhyming Life and Death) writes characterizations that are subtle but surgically precise, rendering this work a powerfully understated treatment of an uneasy Israeli conscience.
Starred Review. Knit into a whole, these stories approach the surreal but don't pass the line; in exquisitely controlled prose... Oz reminds us of the creepy unsureness that underlies all "village" life, rural or urban - and not just in Israel.
New Statesman (UK)
An impressive and very affecting achievement... These stories, in their humanity, may do more for Israel than any of the decisions we have been led to expect of its leaders in the months to come.
One of the most powerful books you will read about present-day Israel.
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 Zionists who had recently immigrated from Eastern Europe. His father, Yehuda Arieh Klausner, was a librarian and a scholar, and his mother, Fania Mussman, suffered from depression and committed suicide when Oz was only twelve. In an interview with The Huffington Post (2009), Oz describes that...
A tale about a beautiful woman - an anonymous victim of a suicide bombing in Jerusalem - whose luminous smile, graceful neck and bright eyes are so beguiling that even in death she can lead a man to fall in love with her.
Research shows that 90% of Americans value public libraries(Dec 11 2013) According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, about 90% of Americans aged 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an...