A Tale Of Love And Darkness

A Tale Of Love And Darkness

4.2 (5,759 ratings by Goodreads)
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Love and darkness are just two of the powerful forces that run through Amos Oz's extraordinary, moving story. He takes us on a seductive journey through his childhood and adolescence, along Jerusalem's war-torn streets in the 1940s and '50s, and into the infernal marriage of two kind, well-meaning people: his fussy, logical father, and his dreamy, romantic mother. Caught between them is one small boy with the weight of generations on his shoulders. And at the tragic heart of the story is the suicide of his mother, when Amos was twelve-and-a-half years old.

Oz's story dives into 120 year of family history and paradox, the saga of a Jewish love-hate affair with Europe that sweeps from Vilna and Odessa, via Poland and Prague, to Israel. Farce and heartbreak, history and humanity make up this magical portrait of the artist who saw the birth of a nation, and came through its turbulent life as well as his own. This is a memoir like no other, and one that cries out to be read and wept over.

By the winner of the 2013 Franz Kafka Prize, previous winners of which include Philip Roth, Ivan Klima, Elfriede Jelinek, Harold Pinter and John Banville.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 528 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 33mm | 362g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0
  • 0099450038
  • 9780099450030
  • 17,296

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Back cover copy

"Touching, haunting, wrenching, amusing, and sometimes downright hilarious . . . This book is both richly panoramic and intensely personal . . . one of the most enchanting and deeply satisfying books that I have read in many years."--Robert Alter, " The New Republic"
Tragic, comic, and utterly honest, "A Tale of Love and Darkness" is at once a family saga and a magical self-portrait of a writer who witnessed the birth of a nation and lived through its turbulent history.
It is the story of a boy growing up in the war-torn Jerusalem of the forties and fifties, in a small apartment crowded with books in twelve languages and relatives speaking nearly as many. The story of an adolescent whose life has been changed forever by his mother's suicide when he was twelve years old. The story of a man who leaves the constraints of his family and its community of dreamers, scholars, and failed businessmen to join a kibbutz, change his name, marry, have children. The story of a writer who becomes an active participant in the political life of his nation.
"It is impossible to give a full account of this book's riches."--"The Washington Post Book World"
"A[n] . . . ingenious work that circles around the rise of a state, the tragic destiny of a mother, a boy's creation of a new self."--"The New Yorker"
"Detailed and beautiful . . . As he writes about himself and his family, Oz is also writing part of the history of the Jews."--"Los Angeles Times"
Amos Oz is the author of numerous works of fiction and essay collections. He has received the Koret Jewish Book Award, the Prix Femina, the Israel Prize, and the Frankfurt Peace Prize, and his books have been translated into more than thirty languages. Amos Oz lives in Israel.
Translated from the Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange
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Review Text

"One of the funniest, most tragic and most touching books I have ever read. A testament to a family, a time and a place."
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Review quote

"One of the funniest, most tragic and most touching books I have ever read. A testament to a family, a time and a place." * Guardian * "A masterpiece" * Irish Times * "One of the most gripping, intense and moving autobiographies I have ever read." * Independent on Sunday * "It sweeps across 120 years of family history, weaving a tragi-comic saga of love and books, of Jewish life and immigrant life the world over, and of the universal madness of families. Read it now - I promise you won't read a more brilliant book in a long, long while." * Daily Mail * "If you have 18 euros in your pocket and at least two days left to live, then you should do one more thing to die without regrets, and that is to read this book." * La Republica *
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About Amos Oz

Born in Jerusalem in 1939, Amos Oz is the internationally acclaimed author of many novels and essay collections, translated into over forty languages, including his brilliant semi-autobiographical work, A Tale of Love and Darkness. His most recent novel, Judas, was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2017 and won the Yasnaya Polyana Foreign Fiction Award. He has received several international awards, including the Prix Femina, the Israel Prize, the Goethe Prize, the Frankfurt Peace Prize and the 2013 Franz Kafka Prize. He lives in Israel and is considered a towering figure in world literature.
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Rating details

5,759 ratings
4.2 out of 5 stars
5 48% (2,773)
4 32% (1,840)
3 14% (787)
2 4% (245)
1 2% (114)

Our customer reviews

The biographic novel reveals the gap between the traditonal European Jewish culture that had to be given up by moving and the new life in a new country and new state of Israel. The Amos's family escaped holocaust but had to cope with disillusion in adopting a new language, rules and values in a mixture of Jewish cultures that took time to melt and integrate. The novel shows the feeling of yet still not belonging and seeking to belong, to take roots in time and land. Written from a perspective of a growing boy it is a fresh, convincing and emotional reading showing how history afflicts people who can find these changes too drastic and sudden but can not influence their development.show more
by Nada BN
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