A Tale of Love and Darkness

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Winner of the National Jewish Book AwardInternational Bestseller "[An] ingenious work that circles around the rise of a state, the tragic destiny of a mother, a boy’s creation of a new self." — The New YorkerA 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."One of the most enchanting and deeply satisfying books that I have read in many years." — New Republic
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Additional Information

Publisher
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Published on
Nov 1, 2005
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Pages
544
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ISBN
9780547545523
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Historical
Biography & Autobiography / Literary
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In spare, haunting, almost hallucinogenic prose, the internationally acclaimed, award-winning novelist shares with us–for the first time–the story of his own extraordinary survival and rebirth.

Aharon Appelfeld’s childhood ended when he was seven years old. The Nazis occupied Czernowitz in 1941, penned the Jews into a ghetto, and, a few months later, sent whoever had not been shot or starved to death on a forced march across the Ukraine to a labor camp. As men, women, and children fall away around them, Aharon and his father (his mother was killed in the early days of the occupation) miraculously survive, and Aharon, even more miraculously, escapes from the camp shortly after he arrives there.

The next few years of Aharon’s life are both harrowing and heartrending: he hides, alone, in the Ukrainian forests from peasants who are only too happy to turn Jewish children over to the Nazis; he has the presence of mind to pass himself off as an orphaned gentile when he emerges from the forest to seek work; and, at war’s end, he joins the stream of refugees as they cross Europe on their way to displaced persons’ camps that have been set up for the survivors. He observes the full range of personalities in the camps–exploitation exists side by side with compassion–until he manages to get on a ship bound for Palestine. Once there, Aharon attempts to build a new life while struggling to retain the barely remembered fragments of his old life (everyone urges him simply to forget what he had experienced), and he takes his first, tentative steps as a writer. As he begins to receive national attention, Aharon realizes his life’s calling: to bear witness to the unfathomable. In this unforgettable work of memory, Aharon Appelfeld offers personal glimpses into the experiences that resonate throughout his fiction.


From the Hardcover edition.
Linked short stories set in a town in the midst of change: “One of the most powerful books you will read about present-day Israel.” —The Jewish Chronicle
 
“‘Scenes from Village Life’ is like a symphony, its movements more impressive together than in isolation. There is, in each story, a particular chord or strain; but taken together, these chords rise and reverberate, evoking an unease so strong it’s almost a taste in the mouth . . . ‘Scenes from Village Life’ is a brief collection, but its brevity is a testament to its force. You will not soon forget it.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
Strange things are happening in Tel Ilan, a century-old pioneer village. A disgruntled retired politician complains to his daughter that he hears the sounds of digging at night. Could it be their tenant, that young Arab? But then the young Arab hears the digging sounds too. And where has the mayor’s wife gone, vanished without a trace, her note saying “Don’t worry about me”? Around the village, the veneer of new wealth—gourmet restaurants, art galleries, a winery—barely conceals the scars of war and of past generations: disused air-raid shelters, rusting farm tools, and trucks left wherever they stopped. Scenes From Village Life is a memorable novel in stories by the inimitable Amos Oz: a brilliant, unsettling glimpse of what goes on beneath the surface of everyday life. Translated from Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange
 
“Finely wrought . . . Oz writes characterizations that are subtle but surgically precise, rendering this work a powerfully understated treatment of an uneasy Israeli conscience.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
 
“Informed by everything, weighed down by nothing, this is an exquisite work of art.” —The Scotsman
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