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With collection small in scope manages to say a lot about people and human relationships
on 1 February 2014
"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.
It's hard to single out one or even a few stories because each of these eight is special in their own way; in the first "The King of Norway” we will meet a single person obsessed with the bad news that is afraid of intimacy; "Two Women" in the eponymous story chat after man left one of them and came to live with the other; story by which the collection was named, "Between Friends”, describes unusual event in which seventeen year old girl went to live with his thirty years older teacher and her father comes to their apartment to speak with her trying to return her home; story "Father” which in itself seems to have the most autobiographical elements brings an emotional story about the boy who visits his ailing father, the only remaining parent; "Little Boy", probably the saddest of all stories in which we meet the little boy Yoav which is five years old, and just like his father cannot be reconciled with the rigid kibbutz rules that during the night kids cannot be with their parents, but with other, sometimes very cruel, peers in the dormitory; "At Night" provides the reader an opportunity to learn about the unusual events of one night when kibbutz general secretary conducts the night watch; "Deir Ajloun" tells the story of a young Yotam who gets a call from a fugitive member of the kibbutz to come to him to Italy, for the high education fully paid, but the question is what will general assembly say on that; and the last story "Esperanto" that tells the story of one of the oldest kibbutz members, a man who survived the Holocaust and who was once a teacher of Esperanto whose death will end the story and the whole collection.
Looking at the summaries of each story is obvious that the author tells about many, sometimes controversial, aspects of life in the kibbutz, and his stories evoke a wide range of human emotions and are thought-provoking.
Although its scope is not a monumental like previous “A Tale of Love and Darkness” Amos Oz with this collection small in scope manages to say a lot about people and human relationships.
Therefore, his last work "Between Friends” as well as all his previously published, can certainly be recommended for reading.