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Between Friends [Paperback]

Amos Oz
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

5 Jun 2014

'On the kibbutz it's hard to know. We're all supposed to be friends but very few really are'

Ariella, unhappy in love, confides in the woman whose husband she stole.

Nahum, a devoted father, can't find the words to challenge his daughter's promiscuous lover.

The old idealists deplore the apathy of the young, while the young are so used to kibbutz life that they can't work out if they're impassioned or indifferent.

And amid this group of people unwilling and unable to say what they mean, Martin attempts to teach Esperanto.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (5 Jun 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0099581477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099581475
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Lucid and heartbreaking. Explores the always uncertain relationships between men and women, parents and children, friends and enemies, in a clear, clipped language perfectly suited to the laconic tone of the narrative and impeccably rendered into English by Sondra Silverston" (Alberto Manguel Guardian)

"Between Friends is arguably something new, a collection of stories, but so interlinked by theme, setting and its rolling cast that it boasts the sense, scope and unity of a novel. The writing, tight and delicate, is technically breathtaking" (Billy O'Callaghan Irish Examiner)

"Oz is brilliant at compact images in which a small action expresses a complexity of unarticulated emotion" (Rebecca Abrams Financial Times)

"There's a beautiful economy and simplicity to Oz's storytelling" (The Times)

"Oz lifts the veil on kibbutz existence without palaver. His pin-point descriptions of individuals and spaces.are pared to perfection in order to resonate. His people twitch with life" (Tom Adair Scotsman)

"Oz is a quiet, plain, compelling writer" (Alan Taylor Herald)

"Deeply affecting chamber piece." (Ben Lawrence Daily Telegraph)

"Engaging collection. Beautiful, spare prose" (Lucy Popescu Independent on Sunday)

"Presents us...with a complex and melancholic vision of people stuggling to transcend their individuality for the sake of mundanely idealistic goals" (Michael Sayeau Times Literary Supplement)

"All Israeli life is here, rendered in loving detail" (Mail on Sunday)

Book Description

In eight interlinked family dramas, master storyteller Amos Oz reveals the secrets and frustrations of the human heart.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Denis Vukosav TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
"Between Friends” written by famous Israeli author Amos Oz is collection of eight stories which describe life in the kibbutz, where Oz had spent part of his youth. His stories, although not directly following each other, share some same characters and describe the many mishaps of people who spend their lives in one of these collective communities.

Kibbutz which is a form of human community appeared early 20th century in Israel, initially based on economic and social equality of members employed in agricultural work, was a kind of utopian collective in which there was no private property, and in a somewhat modified release survived to the present time.

In his book, Oz brings eight stories that occur within such a community, immediately after the World War II, and the symbolism of this collection is that it begins and ends with the motif of death, which is a symbolic way for the author to talk about dying utopia whose product, at least originally, was a kibbutz.

The author discusses the different daily episodes through which describes the atmosphere that reigned within the kibbutz members, their mutual relations, doubts and questioning themselves and others, showing absolutely unstoppable progress in human thinking that without self-actualization and fulfillment of their own desires there are no opportunities for the happiness of the individual.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Between Dreams and Reality 6 April 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is composed of eight short stories told with biblical simplicity that could each stand alone but are in fact linked by a theme : life on a kibbutz and the various characters that appear and reappear. They are very well thought out - humane, poignant stories of dilemmas in a world where everything in theory is decided democratically in a commune of equals.

Obviously enough, matters of the heart cannot be decided democratically. However, there are other situations where the democratic approach seems equally inane and oblivious to the singular human need for a certain permission or exoneration. Amos Oz exploits the gaps that do occur in such a society where the application of common sense solutions cannot always be easily made.

The book is full of pathos and ironic humour, filled with lyrical and concrete details and taken in isolation is - broadly speaking - a delightful read. (I qualify with "broadly speaking" because there is a gratuitous description of a puppy dying, crushed under the wheel of a bus, and a relevant but equally horrifying account of a deranged, distraught father "yanking a quiet gentle boy from under his blanket and slapping his face savagely over and over again until the boy's nose began to bleed and his head banged against the wall". This is surely playing to the gallery)

Amos Oz is an author of distinction, much honoured and acclaimed and a Professor of Literature to boot. He has written an outstanding autobiographical novel "A Tale of Love and Darkness" on a much broader canvas. Here I cannot but have the impression that Oz is merely ticking over on four cylinders like a large eight cylinder limousine economising in town traffic !
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By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
...or was it?

Americans can become nostalgic for the "Eisenhower `50's," when life seemed to be better and simpler, and when many could leave their front doors unlocked, day and night. Conveniently erased from memory was living in a "target city," like Pittsburgh, and crouching under a school desk during a "nuclear war drill," as though that desk would do any good. Not to mention, polio, and various other illnesses with no treatment.

Amos Oz, along with David Grossman, are quintessential Israeli authors. I have read numerous works of both, and have reviewed Oz's In the Land of Israel (Flamingo), Fima and The Slopes of Lebanon. Oz appears to have reached a point in his life (74), when reflections on the `50's era in Israeli are not only appropriate, but necessary. Oz moved into kibbutz Hulda, in 1954, after the suicide of his mother, and thus was able to obtain the material for these interlinking short-stories on kibbutz life, only thinly fictionalized. His primary focus is on the human condition, but lurking in the background, and deftly included in the stories, are the political and social forces that continue to haunt Israel today. But in the forefront is his understanding of the human condition, and how those undid the "dream" of the kibbutz movement, of creating a more equitable and fairer society.

Oz commences, fittingly enough, with the personification of one of the essential myths related to the founding of the country: we found an empty desert, and turned it green.
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