Monday, April 23, 2007

A Tale of Love and Darkness

by Amos Oz

Here's a book I read a few years ago that came to mind recently when I found out the author is on the shortlist for the 2007 Man Booker International Prize. I must have a read a review in the NYT Book Review, because I read it at a time when I wasn't doing much nonfiction; it's actually one of the books that got me interested in reading more nonfiction.

Oz is known for his controversial views on the Arab-Israeli conflict, and this memoir recounts his childhood and young-adulthood before, during, and after the creation of the Israeli state and the many wars and skirmishes (military, political, and otherwise) that entailed. While the backdrop is certainly interesting, the author isn't taking sides, expressing opinions, or directly confronting any of those issues. What's really compelling is the author's personal emotional and intellectual journey. It's damn well written (and translated), very moving (I got a little verklempt), and definitely one for posterity (for literary merit and historical value).

I'm not quite ready to put this in my Top 10, but if I had a Top 100 it'd be a shoe-in.

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