Tuesday, December 04, 2007

failing to till the Israeli ground

When Israeli novelist and essayist and activist Amos Oz visited the Writers House in October 2004, his memoir, A Tale of Love and Darkness, was just then begin published in English--in a beautiful translation by Nicholas DeLange. DeLange visited the Writers House too as part of a 4-day Oz conference. I had read the proof copy of the memoir in the weeks prior to the visit, and had fallen under its spell. Then I had the honor of reading a chapter from the book in English, with its famous author sitting there in the front row. Fortunately he liked the way I read the chapter very much.

I chose to read the chapter about attempts by the young Amos and his father to grow vegetables in the Israeli soil. Not a success. It's easy to think of the story as an allegory for living life in Israel from Oz' political point of view, but Oz himself resists this interpretation, preferring to think of the tale as a literal remembrance. You can judge for yourself. The reading of the chapter takes 26 minutes, so perhaps you'll download the mp3 of my reading of it and listen to it on your IPod.