Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Rhyming Life and Death by Amos Oz (2/5)

First published: 2007
Original title: Haruzei Hahayim Vehamavet
Original language: Hebrew
Translation to English by: Nicholas de Lange, 2009

Page count: 155

The back says: An unnamed author waits in a bar in Tel Aviv on a stifling hot night. He is there to give a reading of his work but as he sits, bored, he begins to conjure up the life stories of the people he meets. Later, when the reading is done he asks a woman for a drink. She declines and the author walks away, only to climb the steps to her flat, later that night. Or does he? In Amos Oz's beguiling, intriguing story the reader never really knows where reality ends and invention begins...

I say: This could have been so much better than it was because the premise of the work was good, but I found the execution to be lacklustre and repetitive. It was only 155 pages and I was already bored before I’d even read half of it, and continued simply because it was so short.

Also because I rather enjoyed Scenes from Village Life and was hoping for at least a nice ending.

But no.

The writing is simple and somewhat poignant at times - Oz certainly does know how to draw characters - but I didn’t find it engaging. We follow the Author around as he makes up stories about the people he sees, and yet none of it profoundly makes any sense. Yes, I understand that we are witnessing the writing experience of the Author, but so what?

2/5 because none of it really goes anywhere, and all the alternative storylines presented one after the other irritated me.

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