Scenes from Village Life by Amos Oz

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Synopsis

Scenes from Village Life is like a symphony, its movements more impressive together than in isolation. 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.”—New York Times Book Review

Strange things are happening in Tel Ilan, a century-old pioneer village. A disgruntled retired politician complains to his daughter that he hears the sound of digging at night. Could it be their tenant, that young Arab? But then the young Arab hears the digging sounds too. And where has the mayor’s wife gone, vanished without a trace, her note saying “Don’t worry about me”?

Around the village, the veneer of new wealth—gourmet restaurants, art galleries, a winery—barely conceals the scars of war and of past generations: disused air-raid shelters, rusting farm tools, and trucks left wherever they stopped. Scenes From Village Life is a memorable novel in stories by the inimitable Amos Oz: a brilliant, unsettling glimpse of what goes on beneath the surface of everyday life.

Translated from the Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange

“Finely wrought . . . Oz writes characterizations that are subtle but surgically precise, rendering this work a powerfully understated treatment of an uneasy Israeli conscience." —Publishers Weekly, starred

“Informed by everything, weighed down by nothing, this is an exquisite work of art.”—The Scotsman
 

About Amos Oz

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Amos Oz was born in Jerusalem in 1939. He is the author of fourteen novels and collections of short fiction, and numerous works of nonfiction. His acclaimed memoir A Tale of Love and Darkness was an international bestseller and recipient of the prestigious Goethe prize, as well as the National Jewish Book Award. Scenes from Village Life, a New York Times Notable Book, was awarded the Prix Méditerranée Étranger in 2010. He lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.
 
Published October 18, 2011 by Mariner Books. 192 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Scenes from Village Life

The New York Times

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The characters in Amos Oz’s stories struggle with disappointment; taken together, they reveal a society in trouble.

Nov 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Scenes from Village Life

The Guardian

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Scenes from Village Life by Amos Oz Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop Tell us what you think: Star-rate and review this book ...

Aug 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Scenes from Village Life

Publishers Weekly

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Most chilling is "Digging," in which a young Arab student writing a book comparing Jewish and Arab village life comes to stay in a back shed belonging to the widow Rachel Franco, whose aged, bitter father, a former Member of the Knesset, becomes obsessed with digging sounds he hears at night.

Jun 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Scenes from Village Life

New York Journal of Books

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Something is not right in Tel Ilan, the fictional Israeli village set in the Manasseh Hills (probably in the general vicinity of Rishon L’Tzion) in which the first seven of the eight stories in Scenes from Village Life, Amos Oz’s book of linked tales, take place.Formerly married, middle-aged sing...

Oct 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Scenes from Village Life

The Washington Post

The little village of Tel Ilan is sweetly attractive: “The village was old and sleepy, a hundred years old or more, with leafy trees and red roofs and agricultural small holdings, many of which had been transformed into shops selling wines from boutique wineries, spicy olives, farmhouse cheeses, ...

Oct 10 2011 | Read Full Review of Scenes from Village Life

The Telegraph

When Arieh refuses to let the lawyer into the house to meet Rosa, he .

Aug 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Scenes from Village Life

Washington Independent Review of Books

Scenes from Village Life, a new collection of linked short stories from the celebrated Israeli writer Amos Oz, is set in Tel Ilan, a fictional village not too far from Tel Aviv.

| Read Full Review of Scenes from Village Life

Scotsman.com

Ideas of belonging – by birthright on a piece of land, by blood within a family, by love and law within a marriage – are persistently exposed as unreliable constructs, as vulnerable as the old parts of the village that are being destroyed and modernised.

Jul 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Scenes from Village Life

Scotsman.com

Indeed Oz has written that when he first read Chekhov - in Hebrew - he felt he was "one of us".

Jul 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Scenes from Village Life

Bookmarks Magazine

Around the village, the veneer of new wealth—gourmet restaurants, art galleries, a winery—barely conceals the scars of war and of past generations: disused air raid shelters, rusting farm tools, and trucks left wherever they stopped.

Aug 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Scenes from Village Life

Oprah.com

It's a place that will raise your energy, lower your blood pressure and occasionally make you laugh—in short, a place of possibility.

Oct 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Scenes from Village Life

The Jewish Chronicle

There's a moment in Oz's new book of short stories when a woman comes into the village library and asks for a book by "the Israeli writer that everyone was talking about."

Jul 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Scenes from Village Life

Artswrap

Amos Oz’s new fiction presents a surreal and unsettling portrait of a village in Israel.

| Read Full Review of Scenes from Village Life

Reader Rating for Scenes from Village Life
70%

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