Amos Oz biography

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Amos Oz

Amos Oz

How to pronounce Amos Oz: "a-mos (a is pronounced as in apple)" oh-zz

Amos Oz Biography

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 time in his life:

"I was very angry with her... I was very angry with my father, I was very angry with myself. I blamed every one of us for the calamity... There was not a drop of compassion in me. Nor did I miss her. I did not grieve at my mother's death. I was too hurt and angry for any other emotion to remain... [it was only] when I reached the age when I could be my parents' parents [that] I could look at them with a combination of compassion, humour, and curiosity."

Forsaking the political beliefs of his father, at only fourteen and a half he went to live on the Kibbutz Hulda in central Israel. Once there, he changed his last name to Oz (which means "strength" in Hebrew), and embraced the labor Zionist way of life. He recollects:

"When I left home at fourteen and a half, I decided to become everything [my father] was not, and not to be anything that he was. He was a right-wing intellectual; I decided to be a left-wing socialist. He was a city dweller; I decided to become a tractor driver. He was short; I decided to become very tall. It didn't work out, but I tried - I tried. So, I assumed the name 'Oz' because this courage and strength are what I needed most."

In compliance with Israel's mandatory military service requirement, in the late 1950s he served in the Israeli Defense Forces, and fought in the Six-Day War (1967) and the Yom Kippur War (1973) as a reserve soldier. In 1960, he married Nily Oz-Zuckerman and, in time, fathered three children with her. As Oz acquired more and more recognition for his writing he was released from much of his field-work at the kibbutz and was allotted more writing time; at its most generous, his weekly schedule consisted of four days of writing, two days teaching, and one day spent on dining room detail.

In 1978, Oz and other social and intellectual activists created a grass roots movement called Shalom Achshav - Peace Now - advocating a two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Opposed to the building of settlements on the West Bank, Oz considers himself a Zionist, a political liberal, and an economic socialist.

His work is inspired by and deeply rooted in Israeli history - exploring its people, its political turmoil, and the majestic beauty of its biblical landscapes. Over the years, Amos Oz's writings have earned him numerous literary prizes, including the Goethe Prize, the Primo Levi Prize, Tel Aviv University's Dan David Prize, the Ovid Prize, and he has been considered as a candidate to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.

About This Biography
This biography was last updated on 10/12/2011. We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate, but with over 2500 lives to keep track of it's inevitable that some won't be as current or as complete as we would like. So, please help us - if the information about a particular author is out of date, inaccurate or simply very short, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors and those connected with authors: If you wish to make changes to your bio, send your complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.

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Books by this Author

Books by Amos Oz at BookBrowse
Scenes from Village Life jacket Rhyming Life and Death jacket
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All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Amos Oz but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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    His first book, Natasha and Other Stories... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Scenes from Village Life

    Try:
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  • David Grossman

    David Grossman

    David Grossman was born in Jerusalem. He is the author of numerous works of fiction, nonfiction, and children's literature. His work has appeared in The New Yorker and has been translated into thirty languages around the ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Scenes from Village Life

    Try:
    To the End of the Land
    by David Grossman

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