Between Friends

Amos Oz

Between Friends

'On the kibbutz it's hard to know. We're all supposed to be friends but very few really are.' Amos Oz's compelling new fiction offers revelatory glimpses into the secrets and frustrations of the human heart, played out by a community of misfits united by political disagreement, intense dissatisfaction and lifetimes of words left unspoken. Ariella, unhappy in love, confides in the woman whose husband she stole; Nahum, a devoted father, can't find the words to challenge his daughter's promiscuous lover; the old idealists deplore the apathy of the young, while the young are so used to kibbutz life that they can't work out if they're impassioned or indifferent. Arguments about war, government, travel and children are feverishly taken up and quickly abandoned - and amid this group of people unwilling and unable to say what they mean, Martin attempts to teach Esperanto. 4.2 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
Between Friends

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardcover
Pages 208
RRP
Date of Publication May 2013
ISBN 978-0701187965
Publisher Chatto & Windus
 

'On the kibbutz it's hard to know. We're all supposed to be friends but very few really are.' Amos Oz's compelling new fiction offers revelatory glimpses into the secrets and frustrations of the human heart, played out by a community of misfits united by political disagreement, intense dissatisfaction and lifetimes of words left unspoken. Ariella, unhappy in love, confides in the woman whose husband she stole; Nahum, a devoted father, can't find the words to challenge his daughter's promiscuous lover; the old idealists deplore the apathy of the young, while the young are so used to kibbutz life that they can't work out if they're impassioned or indifferent. Arguments about war, government, travel and children are feverishly taken up and quickly abandoned - and amid this group of people unwilling and unable to say what they mean, Martin attempts to teach Esperanto.

Scenes From Village Life by Amos Oz.

Reviews

The Independent on Sunday

Lucy Popescu

Oz brilliantly conveys the harsher side of kibbutz life. Individual actions have to be for the good of the community and everything is held in common. But frustrated desires breed resentment and there is a vivid sense of repressed anger running through some of the tales. As one character observes, the older generation have "simply exchanged one belief system for another. Marx is their Talmud. The general meeting is the synagogue and David Dragan is their rabbi."

12/05/2013

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The Daily Telegraph

Ben Lawrence

Although this is a deeply personal work (Oz occasionally lapses into the first person to suggest he is present), the author crafts his characters without sentimentality, detailing their lives with a reserved yet empathetic eye. There is also mordant humour on display … Oz may have written more dazzling books, works that have set out to challenge the effects of Zionism or offer comprehensive solutions to the Middle East’s problems. But this deeply affecting chamber piece draws on something just as important – the contradictory urges that lie at the heart of Israel’s psyche.

29/04/2013

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The Times

Kate Saunders

There’s a beautiful economy and simplicity to Oz’s storytelling.

27/04/2013

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The Financial Times

Rebecca Abrams

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/90913ae2-be1e-11e2-9b27-00144feab7de.html#ixzz2UR0hf91S Oz is brilliant at compact images in which a small action expresses a complexity of unarticulated emotion. Nahum’s attempt to confront his daughter and friend ends in humiliation and he leaves the room, closing the door gently “as though afraid of hurting the door or the frame”. Roni fails to save his little boy from the nightly misery of the children’s dormitory, his compassion overridden by his wife’s rigid adherence to kibbutz rules. He falls asleep, defeated, to the sound of the “stubborn ficus tree branch against the shutters”.

24/05/2013

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The Guardian

Alberto Manguel

In spite of the first person plural that opens the first chapter, the book is not a memoir, much less documentary history. It can be read as a novel made up of eight stories, or as a skein of stories woven into a novel, in which characters cross over from strand to strand and patches are clarified or continued in other patches, lending the whole narrative a growing sense of uneasy familiarity ... Between Friends is a miniature human comedy. It explores the always uncertain relationships between men and women, parents and children, friends and enemies, in a clear, clipped language perfectly suited to the laconic tone of the narrative and impeccably rendered into English by Sondra Silverston.

08/05/2013

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