Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Judas by Amos Oz (2014, translation by Nicholas de Lange forthcoming 2016)

In January 2013 I read and posted on two short stories by Amos Oz, both published in The New Yorker.  Judas, set in Isreal in 1959, was a great reading experience.  It centers on Samuel Ash, a biblical scholar focusing on Judas, as depicted in Jewish writings.  Ash was supported in his studies until his father had a severe business loss.  He has taken a job as a companion to a seventy year old man.  The older man is highly educated, was in his younger days an authority on symbolic logic, he is versed in theology and Isreali politics.  Ash receives room and board and all small salary, his primary duty is to converse with the older man, to keep his mind occupied. 

Also living at the house is a beautiful mysterious forty five year old woman.  Slowly her relationship to the old man is revealed.  Slowly,Ash and the woman develop a relationship.

Ash in his biblical studies has a radically alternative view of Judas, who he sees as the first true Christian and the cause for the rise of the faith.  Agree or not, it is a very interesting idea.

We get a good feel for Isrrali life in the period.  We come to see the role of the Holocaust in the creation of Isreal.  

I found this a fascinating book.

I was given a review copy of this book.

AMOS OZ was born in Jerusalem in 1939. He is the author of fourteen novels and collections of short fiction, and numerous works of nonfiction. His acclaimed memoir A Tale of Love and Darkness was an international bestseller and recipient of the prestigious Goethe Prize, as well as the National Jewish Book Award. Scenes from Village Life, a New York Times Notable Book, was awarded the Prix Méditerranée Étranger in 2010. He lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.  -from the publisher

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