4 quotes of Amos Oz

Amos Oz, 10 September 1979

10th September 1979

1

Every single pleasure I can imagine or have experienced is more delightful, more of a pleasure, if you take it in small sips, if you take your time. Reading is not an exception.

2

The best way to know the soul of another country is to read its literature.

3

The kibbutz way of life is not for everyone. It is meant for people who are not in the business of working harder than they should be working, in order to make more money than they need, in order to buy things they don’t really want, in order to impress people they don’t really like.

4

I find the family the most mysterious and fascinating institution in the world.

Amos Oz

4 great Amos Oz books:

  1. Black Box
  2. A Tale of Love and Darkness
  3. To Know a Woman
  4. Don’t Call It Night
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1 comment so far

  1. ArkAngel on

    By my best-man on 28/12/18:

    Amos Oz was all that was romantic about Israel when I first read him as a teenager. He’d fought in wars and founded Peace Now. He was a kibbutznik. A real one. I don’t know what he did there but I picture him picking oranges in one of those faded, pointy kibbutz hats. And then sitting down at a typewriter to create fiction before getting up at 5 am to hit the fields again.

    Thirty years ago, I sat in Bloomsbury Square with him for one of the best hours of my life. It was the time of the English publication of “Black Box” and I was interviewing him for the Jewish Herald. I was only a journalist for a year, long enough to get an NUJ card but never needing to renew it. It may not have been the career for me but I still managed to sit on a bench in the middle of literary London with my notepad and sweaty palms… with Amos Oz!

    He clearly recognised that I wasn’t a proper reviewer or critic. In my mid-20s I couldn’t really be described as confident and I wasn’t trying to pretend otherwise. I started with my prepared questions and he took each one slowly and gently and responded as if he were sharing a bench with Gore Vidal or Arthur Miller. Unbelievably, conversation flowed and I heard his ideas for the first time; Israelis and Palestinians should divorce and split everything up fairly, kibbutz life was ideal and since moving to the Negev he missed it, the rest of the world didn’t quite understand the need for Israel to exist.

    At one point I told him my theory about “Black Box”. I don’t remember what it was and can barely recall the storyline of the book but I’ll never forget the moment when he slapped my knee and beamed, “That’s it! That’s exactly what I was trying to say!”. I doubt anyone had ever blushed as much in Bloomsbury as I did that day.

    I know we got on well because I told him I was going to Israel to visit my sister and he told me I should look him up. He did. He really did. He even wrote down his address. The first line was 17 Rehov Naf. Not something I’ll ever forget. It was somewhere in the desert. I did visit my sister but I didn’t go and see Amos Oz. Others would have done but that shyness kicked in.

    I saw him interviewed a couple of years ago at a Guardian book talk and hoped that he’d wonder out loud about the lovely young man he met in London three decades ago. He must also have been a shy person because he managed to keep that thought to himself.

    A wonderful man and a wonderful writer.


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