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Posted May 26, 2006
fine bit of story-telling but, alas, not a memoir
﻿ Amos Oz likes to say ¿the first thing you should know about [his] autobiography is that it¿s not an autobiography. It¿s an imposition forced on [him] by the Library of Congress.¿ An interesting confession considering A Tale was published under the genre ¿memoir¿ and went on to reap much acclaim - and quite a bit of money -- as a memoir, including The Koret Jewish Book Award for Autobiography. Asked by befuddled interviewers to clarify himself, Mr. Oz will say only that having asked the dead into his home, they told him the stories he never heard. This is a writerly response, with much truth and sense, but it doesn¿t excuse Mr. Oz for allowing his publisher to tout the work a memoir or to blame the Library of Congress. Actually, a good old-fashioned name exists: a semi-biographical novel. Or, if that¿s not hip enough, call it a post-modernist novel, then, a nod and a wink to the writer to figure out what is real and what isn¿t. As it stands,the many fans of Mr. Oz --- until now I¿ve considered myself one --- believe they¿re hearing true stories, not stories conjured by the artist if he listens hard to ghosts. This past year we¿ve been brutal on American writers who¿ve played on the popular taste for the truth. We¿ve held them to standards and shouted ¿foul¿ when they haven¿t lived up to them. It saddens me that a great fiction writer like Mr. Oz hasn¿t held himself to a higher standard. ¿Oz¿ in Hebrew, we¿re reminded again and again, means ¿strength.¿ As a ¿moral conscience¿, as we¿re also reminded again and again, Mr. Oz demands ¿strength¿ from Israelis and Palestinians alike. And yet he wants us to accept with a titter of laughter that he was somehow coerced into calling his Tale of Love and Darkness a memoir. Shame on him. He should know better --- and something tells me he does.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.