In the summer of 1989, at Tel-Kedar, a small settlement in the Negev Desert, the long time love affair between Theo, a sixty-year-old civil engineer, and Noa, a much younger school teacher, is slowly disintegrating.
In the summer of 1989, at Tel-Kedar, a small settlement in the Negev Desert, the long time love affair between Theo, a sixty-year-old civil engineer, and Noa, a much younger school teacher, is slowly disintegrating. When a pupil of Noa's dies under difficult circumstances, the couple and the entire town are thrown into turmoil. Bestselling author Amos Oz explores with brilliant insight the limits and endless possibilities of love and tolerance and its effects on individual and community relationships.
Born in Jerusalem in 1939, Amos Oz is the internationally acclaimed author of numerous novels and essay collections that have been translated into thirty languages. He has received several international awards, including the Prix Femina, the Israel Prize and the Frankfurt Peace Prize. He lectures in literature at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and he was Weidenfeld visiting Professor at St Anne's College, Oxford, in 1998. Amos Oz is married with two daughters and a son, and lives in Arad, in Israel.
An elegiac, exquisite portrait of a middle-aged love affair Independent Oz has imposed order on a literary landscape that, at least to his overseas readers, seethes with conflict Guardian A commanding artist who ranks with the most important writers of our time -- Cynthia Ozick Oz's sense of place brings Faulkner to mind. His quest for ideals is Tolstoyan, his hapless, decaying characters evoke thoughts of Bellow, but their intensity of feeling, their obsession with elementary issues is Dostoevskian Sunday Telegraph
A vividly and affectionately detailed picture of Israeli village life - and of what might be called a July - October relationship - by acclaimed essayist and novelist Oz (Under This Blazing Light, 1995; Fima, 1993, etc.). The story is set in 1989 in the desert town of Tel-Kedar and is concerned primarily with the relationship between its two principal characters: Theo, a reflective and patient 60-year-old engineer (who was one of the builders of Tel-Kedar), and his more volatile counterpart and lover, 40ish Noa, a busy teacher of literature who also bums up energy with countless community obligations ("It is . . . my ambition to serve the Good . . . not with gushing emotion but with supreme precision"). The novel begins with a superabundance of plot, as the death (perhaps by drug overdose) of one of Noa's students brings to the village the late boy's father, a "military adviser" long stationed elsewhere whose neglect of his son motivates him to bankroll a drug-rehabilitation center for young people - a project that Noa is enlisted to head. Her reluctant efforts draw in the amused Theo, involve the unwise purchase of a "derelict building," and necessitate the couple's continuing involvement with a colorfully portrayed bevy of townspeople, most notably the canny woman mayor Batsheva Dinur and local businessman and hustler Muki Peleg (a "middle-aged lamb . . . trying hard to be a wolf"). Oz handles this pattern of events adroitly, but it pales by contrast with the novel's far richer revelations - in Theo's and Noa's alternating narratives as well as in occasional omniscient chapters, set both now and in flashback, about the unconventional hero and heroine's past history and present amorous detente. Imagine an easygoing Othello matched with a somewhat younger Cleopatra, each gifted with the quicksilver wit of Beatrice and Benedick, and you'll have some sense of the gently mocking, life-affirming energy that suffuses their union. A perfectly pitched comedy, expertly translated, and one of Oz's most attractive and accomplished books. (Kirkus Reviews)
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