> Skip to content
  • Published: 1 November 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099541363
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $19.99

Scenes from Village Life




Now reissued in beautiful new backlist style, a novel in stories from 'one of the greatest writers at work in the world' (Scotsman)

A teenage son shoots himself under his parents' bed. They sleep that night unaware he is lying dead beneath them.

A stranger turns up at a man's door to persude him that they must get rid of his ageing mother in order to sell the house.

An old man grumbles to his daughter about the unexplained digging and banging he hears under the house at night.

As each story unfolds, Amos Oz, builds a portrait of a village in Israel. It is a surreal and unsettling place. Each villager is searching for something, and behind each episode is another, hidden story. In this powerful, hynotic work Amos Oz peers into the darkness of our lives and gives us a glimpse of what goes on beneath the surface of everyday existence.

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.

  • Published: 1 November 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099541363
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Amos Oz

Born in Jerusalem in 1939, Amos Oz was 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 last novel, Judas, was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2017 and won the Yasnaya Polyana Foreign Fiction Award. He 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 died in December 2018.

Also by Amos Oz

See all

Praise for Scenes from Village Life

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

These stories have both force and mystery, and they cast a quiet spell

Scotland on Sunday

A powerfully bleak portrait of loneliness, confusion and cracked bonds

The Times

These stories, in their humanity, may do more for Israel than any of the decisions we have been led to expect of its leaders in the months to come

New Statesman

I enjoyed Amos Oz's Scenes From Village Life a great deal... it explores what is universal, what is entirely idiosyncratic, about daily life in Israel away from the obvious conflicts

Kate Kellaway, Observer

Oz's characters might be drawn from Chekhov: their lives seem an irresoluble muddle of sorrow, baffled hopes and missed chances; his compassion for them makes the reader care deeply about them, too. This is a wise, beautiful and enduring book

Richard Davenport-Hines, Spectator

Potent and uncanny

Tom Sutcliffe, Independent

The stories resemble an echo chamber of recurring themes, steeped in a strangeness and danger that lingers on like a dream'

Metro

Admirably rendered in English by Oz's longtime translator, Nicholas de Lange, these linked stories prove achingly melancholy... It is like a symphony... There is, in each story, a particular chord or strain; but taken together, these chords rise and reverberate, evoking an unease so strong it's almost a taste in the mouth... Scenes From Village Life is a brief collection, but its brevity is a testament to its force. You will not soon forget it

Claire Messud, New York Times

Impressive and very affecting

Karl Miller, Times Literary Supplement

Oz beautifully captures the interplay of tensions in each character.

Helen Brown, Daily Telegraph

What is most arresting is the cumulative effect of his narratives and the relationships between three generations of Israelis in a territory that has too many ghosts.

Julia Pascal, Independent

This is a very strange book. But apart from his memoir A Tale of Love and Darkness, it may be the best in Oz's long and brilliant career...Because these are truly great stories, they do have something to say about human life in general.

Literary Review

Let us not beat about the bush, burning or otherwise. Amos Oz is one of the greatest writers at work in the world: wise, elegantly eloquent and unfailingly humane. For the past five decades he has given us beautiful and necessary literature not least his remarkable, ultimately heart-rending memoir A Tale of Love and Darkness...this is an exquisite work of art.

Scotsman

These stories are written with a sparse clarity, and suffused with a sad empathy for the contradictions that confound us. They have both force and mystery, and they cast a quiet spell.

Scotland on Sunday

The stories resemble an echo chamber of recurring themes, steeped in a strangeness and danger that lingers on like a dream.

Metro

It’s the unspoken sense of dread, or insipient threat, that makes the stories so powerful...In A Tale of Love and Darkness, Oz created an autobiographical masterpiece in which history intervened on every page

Alfred Hickling, Guardian

Oz specializes in ill-defined apprehension…disquieting

David Grylls, Sunday Times

Related titles