Don't Call It Night

Don't Call It Night

by Amos Oz
     
 

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A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

“A rich symphony of humanity . . . If Oz’s eye for detail is enviable, it is his magnanimity which raises him to the first rank of world authors.” —Sunday Telegraph (UK)

At Tel-Kedar, a settlement in the Negev desert, the longtime love affair between Theo, a sixty-year-old civil

Overview


A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

“A rich symphony of humanity . . . If Oz’s eye for detail is enviable, it is his magnanimity which raises him to the first rank of world authors.” —Sunday Telegraph (UK)

At Tel-Kedar, a settlement in the Negev desert, the longtime love affair between Theo, a sixty-year-old civil engineer, and Noa, a young schoolteacher, is slowly disintegrating. When a pupil dies under difficult circumstances, the couple and the entire town are thrown into turmoil. Amos Oz explores with brilliant insight the possibilities—and limits—of love and tolerance.

“Vivid, convincing, and haunting.” —New York Times Book Review

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
"An extraordinary novel from a great and true voice of our time."
New York Times Book Review
"Vivid, convincing and haunting."
Kirkus Reviews
A vividly and affectionately detailed picture of Israeli village life—and of what might be called a JulyOctober relationship—by acclaimed essayist and novelist Oz (Under This Blazing Light, 1995; Fima, 1993, etc.).

The story is set in 1989 in the desert town of Tel-Kedar and is concerned primarily with the relationship between its two principal characters: Theo, a reflective and patient 60-year-old engineer (who was one of the builders of Tel-Kedar), and his more volatile counterpart and lover, 40ish Noa, a busy teacher of literature who also burns up energy with countless community obligations ("It is . . . my ambition to serve the Good . . . not with gushing emotion but with supreme precision"). The novel begins with a superabundance of plot, as the death (perhaps by drug overdose) of one of Noa's students brings to the village the late boy's father, a "military adviser" long stationed elsewhere whose neglect of his son motivates him to bankroll a drug-rehabilitation center for young people—a project that Noa is enlisted to head. Her reluctant efforts draw in the amused Theo, involve the unwise purchase of a "derelict building," and necessitate the couple's continuing involvement with a colorfully portrayed bevy of townspeople, most notably the canny woman mayor Batsheva Dinur and local businessman and hustler Muki Peleg (a "middle-aged lamb . . . trying hard to be a wolf"). Oz handles this pattern of events adroitly, but it pales by contrast with the novel's far richer revelations—in Theo's and Noa's alternating narratives as well as in occasional omniscient chapters, set both now and in flashback, about the unconventional hero and heroine's past history and present amorous détente. Imagine an easygoing Othello matched with a somewhat younger Cleopatra, each gifted with the quicksilver wit of Beatrice and Benedick, and you'll have some sense of the gently mocking, life-affirming energy that suffuses their union.

A perfectly pitched comedy, expertly translated, and one of Oz's most attractive and accomplished books.

From the Publisher
“Vivid, convincing and haunting”
New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780156005579
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
10/15/1997
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Jerusalem in 1939, Amos Oz is the author of numerous works of fiction and essays. His international awards include the Prix Femina, the Israel Prize, and the Frankfurt Peace Prize, and his books have been translated into more than thirty languages. He lives in Israel.

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