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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
A Tale Of Love And Darkness
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on 28 March 2017
Loved the no ie but the book drags a little even so I really enjoy Amiss humour and dry Jewish wit especially about his grandparents as it reminds m of.my father ! A good read
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on 9 August 2017
humanity, humour, magical evocations of childhood and the act of writing - the book has it al!l
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on 5 May 2017
Very difficult to get into. Not as well written/translated as most of the books I read. I stopped after the first couple of chapters. Sorry!
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on 1 January 2017
Nicely presented book which was a present so was well received.
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on 14 November 2016
crumpled, crinkled and teeny weeny print....very dissapointed
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on 23 November 2009
Much had been written in previous reviews on this book and in some ways it is hard to add anything substantial, however for me it was a very interesting read as I have read huge amounts on the history of Israel/Palestine but nothing with such an in depth look into the pyche of some of the first of the Jewish diaspora to settle in the land of Israel. The book revealed a dichotamy between the yearning of the new settlers for their European homelands and their yearning for a new homeland in the face of mounting anti-semitism, their almost love-hate relationship with the new country and the affects of this on their lives. The book, along with many others on the subject goes some way to explain the pyche of the Israelis now. It was interesting too to note that the author did not emerge from his upbringing with the same understanding as his family and their peers regarding the state of Israel and the effect its creation had on its neighbours. On the whole the book was beautifully and beguilingly written but there was quite a bit of repetition - some of which may have been to add to the atmospherics of the book but some just seems like poor editing (some was word for word). There were also (as another reviewer remarked) lots of lists which in the end I sort of skimmed over as these were repeated too. These I found irritating. This was a heart wrenching and emotionally difficult book to read as it made me think about the individual lives of those early settlers rather than looking at them as a whole who, along with the Zionist politcal leaders, brought about the creation of the state of Israel.
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on 13 May 2006
Although a very different work, in stature this book ranks with Nabokov's Speak Memory as one of the greatest of autobiographies. Of course it is the autobiography of a master novelist and so it is much more than the story of a life. Through the medium of a rich population of characters it explores the history of central and eastern European Jewry, the founding of the State of Israel, but also, and centrally, the coming of age of a young boy and the slide into depression and suicide of a beautiful and gifted woman (his mother). In all it is a complete and painfully moving work of art.
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on 26 November 2011
A moving, intense memoir of the life of this prolific Israel author, tells of life in the Land of Israel from the 1930s until the early 1950s. The author manages to juggle humor and sadness, in a book which does bring to life the Israel of that time. It is circular in nature and not chronological and dwells also on life in Europe for Jews before the re-establishment of the Jewish State. The two problems with the book are the amount of detail can become monotonous and boring and that Oz sometimes tries too hard to be iconoclastic and cynical, leading simply to a certain putridity. Though my own politics differs from Oz leftwing (yes still humane) political though and that may account for part of my irritation.
The author describes his grandmother's obsession that the Levant is filled with germs, and her immaculate obsession with cleanliness as a result. Oz describes his early childhood with a clear and penetrating memory and end in his mother's suicide at 38 in the early 1950s-with Oz describing her depression and his pain and psychological exploration of her suicide. He describes his intellectual but frustrated father and the stifling, book filled flat in Jerusalem from which he escapes to the animating Kibbutz Hulda at the age of 15. The author describes the situation of Israel in the last years of the British Mandate of Palestine, and provides interesting history of the birth of Israel. From the Holy Land during the Second world war, when the Jewish yishuv (community) of Israel feared the Holocaust coming to the Holy Land at a time when the Nazis looked like they had the Palestine mandate strangled by their control of the Caucuses in the north and their advance in North Africa on the other frontier. At this time Haifa and Tel Aviv, as the auhtor mentions were bombed by Italian planes. The gripping elation and fear at the vote in the Untied Nations at the end of 1947 in which the partition of Palestine was agreed to, the coming of the painful War of Independence and the shortages incurred therein, the atrocities of the war such as the burning alive by Arabs of 50 nurses and doctors on the road to Jerusalem and the killing of dozens of Jews in Jerusalem during a terrorist bombing by pro-Arab British Army deserters calling itself the British Fascist Army. The author describes his first sexual infatuation with a schoolteacher in her 30s named Zelda, and this too is described in immaculate detail. Overall a great contribution to Israeli literature and thought.
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on 4 April 2015
Congrats to Amazon for finally after many years succeeding in making this available on Kindle.
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on 10 July 2006
The story works on many levels-political, historical and philosophical. However, the success of the book is in the way these themes are interwoven and translated through Oz's experiences and their effects on him and his family. Producing an intensely moving and sad autobiography which starts as far back as his grandparents can recall.

The vivid storytelling and attention to detail transports the reader in to the book and invites you to smell, taste, see and feel the people and places described. The emotions Oz feels, (and allows the reader to experience) are set against a varied backdrop from Eastern Europe to Jerusalem. This fascinating ride is punctuated with increasingly frequent references to his mother's death which arrives with soul destroying inevitability.

In some ways the whole story is about Oz searching to understand why she killed herself and how it affected his life.

If you want to read about the Holocaust, Palestine or the birth of Israel there are many books which would provide more detail. However the loss, emptiness and ecstacy of these events are shown in sharp relief against this incredibly personal story. A story about a boy, his family and life.
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