Literature - Fiction

Judas by Amos Oz – An Exquisite Love Story And Coming-Of-Age Novel

Judas by Amos Oz
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Jerusalem, 1959. Shmuel Ash, a biblical scholar, is adrift in his young life when he finds work as a caregiver for a brilliant but cantankerous old man named Gershom Wald. There is, however, a third, mysterious presence in his new home. Atalia Abarbanel, the daughter of a deceased Zionist leader, a beautiful woman in her forties, entrances young Shmuel even as she keeps him at a distance. Piece by piece, the old Jerusalem stone house, haunted by tragic history and now home to the three misfits and their intricate relationship, reveals its secrets.

At once an exquisite love story and coming-of-age novel, an allegory for the state of Israel and for the biblical tale from which it draws its title, Judas is Amos Oz’s most powerful novel in decades. Read more…

In the novel ‘Judas,’ Amos Oz wrestles with Jewish attitudes toward Jesus

The Washington Post Book Review – November 28, 2016 (Excerpt)

“Judas,” a new novel by Amos Oz, is a paradox of stillness and provocation. The Israeli author, a long-rumored contender for the Nobel Prize, has reduced the physical action of this story to a tableau of domestic grief. But beneath a scene of fermented woe, he incites a storm of theological and political arguments about the founding of Israel and the origins of Christianity.

The plot sounds almost repellently static. In the opening pages, set around 1960, Shmuel Ash, a young graduate student in Jerusalem, loses his girlfriend and his parents’ allowance. Despondent, he abandons his master’s thesis and takes a job as a companion to an elderly intellectual named Wald, who “larded his speech with quotations and allusions, witticisms and plays on words.” In exchange for room and board and a modest paycheck, Shmuel agrees to talk and argue with Wald from 5 to 11 o’clock every evening. Beyond that, he must only feed the fish, bring in a cup of tea and swear never to reveal anything he hears within these walls. Read more…