Yoel Ravid, is my kind of man. He was an Israeli secret service agent for most of his life, and had the ability to sense the truth in people. Amos Oz has written an extraordinary novel, "To Know a Woman". However, in Yoel's quest to find the secret of his life and what might have gone wrong; we learn as does Yoel, much more about his life and how to live it. This novel has been misnamed, it should be "To Know a Man"! We meet Yoel as he is exploring his retired life. His wife of many years, Irvia, has died suddenly. He is left with a daughter, Netta, whom he doesn't really know. His mother and his mother-in-law live together in an apartment near by, and Yoel feels the need to bring the family together. He cannot abide to live in the apartment that he lived in with his wife. He finds a house to rent with four bedrooms and everyone moves in together. This is a strange family- rarely do they speak or talk of important matters. They sit at night watching TV and rarely speak. Netta, his daughter has epilepsy and we learn that Irvia could not accept this diagnosis. Netta is a young woman who reads- she eats and sleeps at will, stays up all hours of the night and attends school where she does not fit in. Yoel feels out of place. He is used to being busy all the time, now he has very little to do. He thinks a lot about his life with his wife, how they met and married and their life with Netta. He thinks about his profession. He was rarely at home and his job was his life even though he loved his family. He drives his car at night and thinks. He sleeps little. He visits his next door neighbors who are an interesting couple, brother and sister. And he forms a relationship with his realtor, they go sailing every Saturday, and the realtor tells Yoel all of his secrets. All of this introspection is good for Yoel. His mother and mother-in-law are always arguing. His daughter tells him , "As you wish". for any question he asks her. No one it seems in the family is able to talk freely about what they are really thinking. The process of Yoel's assimilation of life is a joy to behold. It is a quiet coming together, and we are treated to the most wonderful writing . Yoel's daily life is told in such great detail and with such an explicit description that the mundane becomes revered. A life to be lived. This is my first Amos Oz book, and I look forward to reading his entire collection. Highly Recommended. prisrob
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...and emotions. Yoel, who used to work for the secret services in Israel, is not a tough man as another people think. He never had the time to prove so to his wife, but now that he is retired and she is dead, he decides to settle down a bit and spend time with his family, come closer to them and especially his daughter. You will see that Yoel is more an *observer* in life rather a passenger and as a reader you will get a clear picture for everything he observes. You will also be the only one to know Yoel's feelings about the people around him and be amazed how deep but conceeled these feelings are. Very sweet and emotional book.
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