Amos Oz (1939–2018) was one of Israel’s most prolific and prominent writers, as well as a regular contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was the author of dozens of novels, essay collections, and novellas written between 1965 and shortly before his death. In this first published biography of Oz, Robert Alter explores Oz’s relationship with his family, beginning with the suicide of his mother, Fania Klausner, when he was twelve years old, and goes on to review his time in Kibbutz Hulda, which he entered at fourteen following his separation from his father, Arieh Klausner; his family’s right-wing Zionism; his writing career; his activism in support of a pluralistic Israel; and his work as an international lecturer. In examining Oz’s life and work, Alter brings together testimony from Oz and his circle, as well as close readings of his central works, to present a nuanced portrait of a complex man.
Robert Alter is professor of the Graduate School and emeritus professor of Hebrew and comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1967. He is the award-winning author of two dozen books, including his three-volume translation of the Hebrew Bible. He lives in Berkeley, CA.
“Any new book by Robert Alter is an occasion to celebrate. His latest is especially compelling precisely because he applies his genius for making ancient texts come fully alive to the life and work of a consequential figure of our own times. – Jonathan Kirsch, The Harlot by the Side of the Road
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