Dedicated to all the book lovers and writers at WordPress, especially Enrico, Nia, Ann, Gallivanta, Amy, Rachel, Joan and Gabrielle, Jill, Maureen, Denise, Denise (my sister), Elizabeth, and so many others. Also dedicated to all our friends who always have super kind words for Auden. He and myself send a big “Thank You!”
“In his novel, Amos Oz is masterfully able to convey the big issues and conflicts of religious and contemporary history in the Middle East. He interlaces ancient times with the present, contrasting the conflict between Judaism and Christianity with modern Jewish-Palestinian reality. With his three characters – naïve, indecisive Shmuel Asch, the aged cynic Gershom Wald and his widowed daughter-in-law Athaliah Abrabanel – the author confidently reflects his knowledge of political history, thus creating an unconventional piece of world literature. The novel ‘Judas’ newly poses the question of the relationship between Judaism and Christianity based on the biblical Judas. He links the issue of betrayal with the actual political events during the founding phase of the State of Israel and in the ongoing Middle East conflict. The book’s secret is the way it portrays the moods among the conflicting parties, mirrored in the conversations of the three protagonists. In her German translation, Mirjam Pressler is able to convey a fine nuance of the atmosphere that permeates and carries this intelligent and multi-layered work.” (The jury on the 2015 award winners)
The life of the young Shmuel Asch changes radically in the winter of 1959. His girlfriend leaves him, his parents declare bankruptcy and he has to break off his studies. He finds shelter and work in an old house in Jerusalem as a companion for the rhetorically skilful and peculiar Gershom Wald. There he meets the beautiful and unapproachable Athaliah Abrabanel, daughter of a deceased leader of the Zionist movement. The novel’s three protagonists live withdrawn lives on the edge of the city. But desire and curiosity are transformed into desperate infatuation, breaking loose a storm inside the shy and sensitive Shmuel and he again begins to work on his graduation thesis on “Jesus from the Perspective of the Jews,” becomes lost in the mysterious pull exerted on him by Judas Iscariot, the incarnation of treachery and baseness, and at night talks with Gershom Wald about the ideals of Zionism, Jewish-Arab conflicts, in short, about everything under the sun. Gradually he decrypts the secrets of the inhabitants of the lonely house, their involvement and the human tragedy before and after the establishment of Israel in the year 1948.
Amos Oz was born in 1939 as Amos Klausner in Jerusalem, where he spent his childhood. In 1954 he joined the Chulda kibbutz and adopted the name Oz. He studied literature and philosophy at Hebrew University of Jerusalem from 1960 until 1963, returning to the kibbutz after completing his Bachelor’s degree. He is a co-founder and outstanding representative of the peace movement Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), founded in 1977. Until 2005 he taught Hebrew literature at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheba. He has received many prizes and awards for his works, which have been translated into 37 languages.
Recent publications in German translation: Unter Freunden, translated from the Hebrew by Mirjam Pressler; Suhrkamp Verlag 2013 (Ben haverim; Keter, Jerusalem 2012)
Amos Oz & Fania Oz-Salzberger: Juden und Worte, translated from the English by Eva Maria Thimme; Jüdischer Verlag 2013 (Jews and Words; Yale University Press, New Haven 2012) Geschichten aus Tel Ilan, translated from the Hebrew by Mirjam Pressler; Suhrkamp Verlag 2009 (Tmunot me-chajej ha-kfar; Keter, Jerusalem 2009)
Mirjam Pressler, born in Darmstadt in 1940, is an author and translator from the Hebrew, English and Dutch. Her more than 30 books for children and young people as well as her translations have received many awards including the German Children’s Literature Award, the Carl Zuckmayer Medal for Merits in the German Language and the Buber Rosenzweig Medal. She has translated works by Aharon Appelfeld, David Grossmann, Zeruya Shalev, John Steinbeck and other writers. For her translation ofJudas she received the 2015 Prize from the Leipzig Book Fair in the translation category.
Lizzie Doron: Eine unmögliche Freundschaft, translated from the Hebrew; Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag 2015 (not yet published in Hebrew)
Mira Magén: Wodka und Brot, translated from the Hebrew; Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag 2015 (Vodka ve Lechem, Kinneret Zmora-Bitan Dvir, Or Jehuda 2012)
Aharon Appelfeld: Auf der Lichtung, translated from the Hebrew; Rowohlt Berlin Verlag 2014 (ʿAd hod ha-tsaʿar Kinneret Zmora-Bitan Dvir, Or Jehuda 2012)
Hila Blum: Der Besuch, translated from the Hebrew; Berlin Verlag 2014 (Ha-bikur; Kinneret Zmora-Bitan Dvir, Or Jehuda 2011)
Amoz Oz: Unter Freunden, translated from the Hebrew; Suhrkamp Verlag 2013 (Ben haverim; Keter, Jerusalem 2012)
Theo Coster: In einer Klasse mit Anne Frank, translated from the Dutch; Herbig Verlagsbuchhandlung 2011 (Klasgenoten van Anne Frank; Uitgeverij Carrera, Amsterdam 2009)
Publications: Ein Buch für Hanna; Beltz & Gelberg 2011
But he also finds time to “read” his books. “Turn the page, Auden!” … and he turns the page. This is dedicated to Julia Ojidos, who regularly posts the column “Buenas Noches Y Feliz Lectura”, in addition to her spectacular writings.
My daughter-in-law will have to wear her clown hat when she is going to read this book to little Auden. She does a wonderful job reading to him on a daily basis.
Our Souls at Night – “A spare yet eloquent, bittersweet yet inspiring story of a man and a woman who, in advanced age, come together to wrestle with the events of their lives and their hopes for the imminent future. …” My Promised Land: “An authoritative and deeply personal narrative history of the State of Israel, by one of the most influential journalists writing about the Middle East today.”
Oksanen’s writing is all the more powerful because she tells her story through the eyes of damaged and self-deceiving people: a batty, paranoid old women and an ill-educated, traumatised girl. The reader is left to fill the in gaps, with KGB documents at the end of the book giving the missing clues. ” From The Economist.
“He has been hailed as a contemporary Marcel Proust, but Modiano’s investigations into the moral history of the occupation make him a pure original.” From The Guardian.
A memoir – Published in the United States by Graywolf Press – 2015. “A moving and revealing exploration of Hasidic life, and one man’s struggles with faith, family, and community.” In my opinion, it is a topnotch book! Super well written report about religion and life in an environment that was unknown to me. 5 stars!!!
“I respect it, but I do not agree with it. Those words would embody what I saw as my father’s ability to stand by his principles while acknowledging that others lived by different ones, their convictions as strong as his own. Those words provided a counterbalance to the more prevalent view expressed by my teachers and others, of utter contempt for everything but our own worldview. And so I couldn’t help but wonder: Who was right, my father or my teachers? Were we allowed to respect others, or were we obligated to vilify all who believed differently? My father seemed to embrace the former, and my teachers the latter. Which, then, was I to accept?”