To Know a Woman

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The best part of the book is the dialogue between father and daughter, which ends with Yoel letting Netta be whom she wants to be. I kept thinking, what is this book about, really? Why are things repeated over and over?

To Know A Woman

The premise turned out to be more interesting than the story, probably much due to the slow pace and cyclical storytelling. But it was lovely to be back in Israel! And towards the end, it did feel like the book had managed to deal with the themes of loss and change, aging etc quite well, without me even noticing.


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I didn't finish this one, not having found it so appealing as other Oz's novels. Still, may get back to it some day in the future. Jul 21, Laura rated it it was ok.

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Excellent writing about mourning. Without mentioning the word once. But for me it is way too slow, no action, no movement, thoughts, thoughts, thoughts, silence. Apr 21, Jay Daze rated it really liked it Shelves: literature , translation. Yoel is a shadowy governmental arms dealer a spy? Was it an accident? Were his wife and the neighbour lovers, or did he just come upon the scene and get zapped himself? Yoel's powers of observation are so finely tuned, so sensitive to every nuance but the harder he looks the more everything falls apart.

Yet at the same time Oz has created a character blind to everything important in his life, Yoel is a shadowy governmental arms dealer a spy? Yet at the same time Oz has created a character blind to everything important in his life, most especially his dead wife and daughter. By the end of the novel it seems as if Yoel has entirely lost the thread of truth he has been so desperately trying to find maybe that is the problem he is so obsessed with the truth he entirely misses the wonder of life.

His daughter, mother, mother-in-law and a potential new lover are gone. He has either lost it or become some sort of Jewish saint, or perhaps both. Mar 06, lauren rated it really liked it. Since he was capable of observing, he grew fond of observing in silence. With tired but open eyes. Into the depth of the darkness. And if it was necessary to focus the gaze a like most oz novels, i began it saying 'this is not as good as the last i read, not as compelling.

And if it was necessary to focus the gaze and remain on the lookout for hours and days, even for years, well there was no finer thing that this to do. Hoping for a recurrence of one of those rare, unexpected moments when the blackness is momentarily illuminated, and there comes a flicker, a furtive glimmer, which one must not miss, one must not be caught off guard. Because it may signify a presence which makes us ask ourselves what is left.

Besides elation and humility. Jul 30, Sushil rated it liked it. This is a story about a thoroughly rational but rather unemotional middle-aged man who struggles to find time for his family on account of his work but is forced to pause his life when his wife dies in an accident at home. He finds himself living with his aloof daughter and doting, kvetching mother and mother-in-law all of whom would rather see him go back to work. Yet, they blame his long absences in the past for everything that had gone wrong.

Like always, Amos writes beautifully, almost perfec This is a story about a thoroughly rational but rather unemotional middle-aged man who struggles to find time for his family on account of his work but is forced to pause his life when his wife dies in an accident at home. Like always, Amos writes beautifully, almost perfectly. But somehow I felt that protagonist with his almost Spock-like need to reason everything out had odds stacked up against him to really understand anyone more regular be it a man or a woman.

So, his failure to know women hardly comes as a surprise. Don't expect a thriller. While Yoel, the protagonist, was a secret service agent, and while he struggles to remember key events from his past that haunt him, this is not a book about secret agents. There is no huge climax. No car chases. Instead, this is a story of a man recovering from trauma, learning to relate to people, learning to love his daughter, learning to live without his wife.

He wanders through his days in a fog, focusing on tiny details of the world, while not responding to the larg Don't expect a thriller. He wanders through his days in a fog, focusing on tiny details of the world, while not responding to the largest figures in his life. It is a story of a sad man who doesn't even know he is sad. Perhaps not my favourite book by Oz, but he still is such a good writer. He takes this story of loss and grieving, and turns it into a universal tale of love, reassessment of one's life, trying to truly understand another person, moving on.

He piles on detail after detail about Yoel's daily routines, his gardening, his cooking, his thoughts, his travels and each adds a layer, mostly by what is left unsaid. This one is not as political as some of his other books, but there is that discomfort ab Perhaps not my favourite book by Oz, but he still is such a good writer. This one is not as political as some of his other books, but there is that discomfort about the secret services and what they stand for.

Apr 05, Rosalind rated it liked it. This book came highly rated and I was somewhat disappointed, but it wasn't a total write-off. Following the tragic, sudden death of his wife, an Israeli secret service man decides to pack in his demanding career and reflect on his life. This sounds thrilling and sinister, but the family is dysfunctional to the point of incredible and it was too slow-moving, repetitive and unsatisfactory to live up to a promising start.

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Apart from the main character, which was well presented, the other characters This book came highly rated and I was somewhat disappointed, but it wasn't a total write-off. Apart from the main character, which was well presented, the other characters ranged from shadowy to banal. I almost gave up on it, so 2. Sep 09, Caroline rated it really liked it. The bleak protagonist of this novel is a year veteran of the Israeli secret service, who has retired from the agency after his wife's sudden death in a freak accident while he was in Helsinki on a mission.

In his newly rented house in a Tel Aviv suburb, he surrounds himself with women: his mother, his mother-in-law, and his year-old daughter.

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It is a claustrophic, somewhat depressing book, but a very interesting insight The bleak protagonist of this novel is a year veteran of the Israeli secret service, who has retired from the agency after his wife's sudden death in a freak accident while he was in Helsinki on a mission. It is a claustrophic, somewhat depressing book, but a very interesting insight into one man's thought processes.

Jun 02, Vio rated it it was amazing.

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Unable to feel man with a possibly dark past found his katharsis in helping to helpless. I loved this book. I loved the way Oz unfolds Yoel's struggling to find his place in a new for him world. Emotionless and unpowered by his almost insane tendency to hyperanalyze details from his past, living as a somnabulic, he confuses the reader with his unpredictable sometimes behavior yet in the same time amazes with his slow recovery. The title of the book is not completely understandable to me.

I thoroughly enjoy Amos Oz' writing. Each book I read I appreciate him more.

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I learn of Israeli life, and his works make me think about life. This novel was about a retired government agent and what he does with his life after his wife dies unexpectedly. Already a subscriber? Log in or link your magazine subscription. Account Profile. Sign Out. All Rights Reserved. Tags: caitlyn jenner call me caitlyn eleanor burkett feminism gender trans issues love and war More. Most Viewed Stories. NOTE: All fields required unless indicated as optional. By clicking submit below you agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. If you have any of these signs, call and get to a hospital right away.

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