A Tale of Love and Darkness
A family saga and a magical self-portrait of a writer who witnessed the birth of a nation and lived through its turbulent history. A Tale of Love and Darkness is the story of a boy who grows up in war-torn Jerusalem, in a small apartment crowded with books in twelve languages and relatives speaking nearly as many. The story of an adolescent whose life has been changed forever by his mother's suicide. The story of a man who leaves the constraints of his family and community to join a kibbutz, change his name, marry, have children. The story of a writer who becomes an active participant in the political life of his nation. (From Mariner Books)
Amos Oz was a writer and journalist whose work has been translated into over forty languages. His last novel, Judas, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 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 2018 at the age of 79.
From the book
Books filled our home. My father could read sixteen or seventeen languages and could speak eleven (all with a Russian accent). My mother spoke four or five languages and read seven or eight. They conversed in Russian or Polish when they did not want me to understand. (Which was most of the time. When my mother referred to a stallion in Hebrew in my hearing, my father rebuked her furiously in Russian: Shto s toboi?! Vidish malchik ryadom s nami!-What's the matter with you? You can see the boy's right here!) Out of cultural considerations they mostly read books in German or English, and presumably they dreamed in Yiddish. But the only language they taught me was Hebrew. Maybe they feared that a knowledge of languages would expose me too to the blandishments of Europe, that wonderful, murderous continent.
From A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz ©2005. Published by Mariner Books.