Abstract

Since the 1960s, when he emerged as one of the main literary voices of a new generation of Israeli writers, Amos Oz came to represent, both in his writings and in his public persona, the quintessential Sabra: the native-born Israeli. Oz was resolute and confident but also contemplative and sensitive. He became one of the main voices of Israel's peace camp, but he was also a believer in Israel's historical mission. A Tale of Love and Darkness, Oz's memoir from 2003, has presented a profoundly different image of Amos Oz. Instead of the virile, confident Sabra, we encounter a boy whose world was shaped not only by Jerusalem of the 1940s but also by the Jewish experience in Eastern Europe. Oz as he emerges from A Tale of Love and Darkness is no longer the proud kibbutznik holding a plow in one hand and a pen in the other but an Ashkenazi Jew who seems to be haunted by the complexes and fears that his parents and grandparents brought with them from the Diaspora. In an Israel now cosmopolitan and technologically advanced yet also more fractured, tribal, and diverse, A Tale of Love and Darkness offers a personal historical account that forgoes the grand national narrative which informed so much of Oz's earlier fiction as well as his nonfiction writing. The memoir presents Oz as the voice of a particular group (secular Ashkenazim), which was once a dominant force in Israeli society but which, in recent years, finds itself to be one of many groups in an ever expanding Israeli cultural landscape.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2028
Print ISSN
0021-6704
Pages
pp. 119-143
Launched on MUSE
2008-06-14
Open Access
No
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