In “Scenes from Village Life” Amos Oz returns to short form fiction

Posted on October 28, 2011

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In an interview on last night’s Charlie Rose show Israeli writer Amos Oz discussed his latest book, Scenes from Village Life. In my New York Journal of Books review of the book I write: “Loneliness, lethargy, depression, and vague but unmistakable feelings of anxiety pervade most of the characters and the overall mood of the book. These senses of aloneness, isolation, and unease are reminiscent of the short stories of Anton Chekhov and Sherwood Anderson. Mr. Oz’s stories almost have a sense of the uncanny yet contain no supernatural elements.”

Scenes from Village Life book coverNew York Journal of Books

In last night’s interview Mr. Oz cited Messrs. Chekhov and Anderson as early influences and their work as models for the stories in Scenes from Village Life. He also referred to the book as a novel in stories, a description I dispute in my review in which I warn fans of Mr. Oz’s novels not to expect to find in these stories the narrative and psychological complexity of his longer prose.

One of the themes of the book is Israel’s growing income gap, and in my review I wonder whether Mr. Oz approves of last summer’s social justice demonstrations in Tel-Aviv. In the interview last night he answered in the affirmative.

For more info: David Cooper

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