AMOS OZ – Robert Alter

A detailed and multi-faceted depiction of an intricate individual.

By Robert Alter ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 26, 2023

A comprehensive look at the life of the renowned Israeli writer Amos Oz, Alter’s biography offers an in-depth exploration of the author’s life and works. Born in Jerusalem, Oz experienced much violence after the U.N. decision to partition Israel and Palestine in 1947. His childhood was marred by his mother’s mental illness, which culminated in her suicide when he was 12. This trauma had a lasting impact on Oz, and at the age of 14, he separated from his father and joined a kibbutz. Alter notes that Oz was not physically strong, but he was intellectually brilliant and became “extraordinarily good-looking” as a teenager. He changed his surname from Klausner to Oz, which means strength in Hebrew. Alter provides insightful readings of Oz’s fiction, which is deeply rooted in Israeli culture, society, and clashing ideologies. Oz was a strong advocate for the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and he remained loyal to the kibbutz ideal even after he and his family moved away. Alter also recounts Oz’s book tour in San Francisco in 1970, during which he argued for pluralism in Israel’s national life. Finally, Alter deals with Oz’s critics, gossip, and his estrangement from one of his daughters in a judicious manner. Through this biography, Alter offers an empathetic look at the life and works of Amos Oz.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023
ISBN: 9780300250176

Page Count: 200
Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023