An unsettling portrait of a fictional village from the Israeli master storyteller
Amos Oz’s new fiction presents a surreal and unsettling portrait of a village in Israel. A picture of the community takes shape across seven stories, in which a group of characters appear and return. Each villager is searching for something, yet in this almost dreamlike world nothing is certain, nothing is resolved. An old man grumbles to his daughter about the unexplained digging and banging he hears under the house at night. A stranger turns up at a man’s door, to persuade him that they must get rid of his ageing mother in order to sell the house. A man goes to his neighbours for regular evenings of music and old pioneer songs, but is overwhelmingly drawn to the tragic heart of the house. Behind each episode is another, hidden story – a glimpse of what goes on beneath the surface of everyday existence. The book concludes with an eighth story, shocking and strange, from another place and a distant time. In beautifully simple, poetic language, Amos Oz peers into the darkness of our lives in this powerful, hypnotic work.
“This is a dark book, with a dark vision of contemporary Israel… The whole, rich, disturbing mixture makes one feel as if something dark is digging away at the foundations, something unnameable ready to emerge. It is one of the most powerful books you will read about present-day Israel.”
David Herman, Jewish Chronicle