By Amos Oz, and and, Nicholas De Lange
Shmuel, a young, idealistic student, is drawn to a mysterious handwritten note on a campus noticeboard. This takes him to a strange house, where an elderly invalid man requires a paid companion, to argue with and read to him. But there is someone else in the house, too… A woman, who is trailed by ghosts from her past.Tweet
I found this a really interesting novel. It's a mix of a rather odd love story and a discussion about Arabs and Jews, religion and politics. The young protagonist is researching the Jewish view of Christianity and is particularly interested in the role of Judas. We hear about this in his discussions with others and in his own thinking and writing as the story progreses. It could have made for a very dry story but somehow the developing relationship between he and his employers makes the whole thing very readable and enjoyable. It also gave me a whole new way of viewing both Jesus and Judas. I would recommend the book to anyone who's up for a serious read and has an interest in Christianity and/or Judaism.
This is an absolutely beautiful book, which is painstakingly pure. The deftness of touch by Oz to create a book which is very easy to read yet has some considerable weight to it. It is a book that has stayed with me, partly due to the fact that is as taken me a while to read, but partly because this is written by someone who is a remarkable writer. There is not a word out of place, there are so many excellent descriptions of the characters and bystanders, for example "A diminutive, bespectacled woman, whose face radiated goodwill and kindliness, but who had a slight moustache". I also expect that the translator Nicholas de Lange, who has a considerable history of translating Hebrew into English and of Oz's works, is a real genius too.
I have never read any of Amos Oz's other works before and I now intend to read "A Tale of Love and darkness" based on my experience of reading the book through our reading group. I would recommend this book to others because it is a book full of emotion, yet full of hope for the future, redemption and ugliness too.