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A Story Of Love And Darkness
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This autobigraphic novel is, to many, the best one of the author. It can be crudely parted to three: The first part, is stories of the upcoming country, the cultural heroes of the time, Jerusalem, and more; The second part is the story of his extended family from outside of Israel, their integration in israel and their following stories; The third part deals with his Nuclear Family, his parents, himself, events from his personal point of view, and his turning into a writer. The first part is somewhat of a 'Fluent Gossip', well written and very interesting. Menachem Begin, Shaul Tchernichovsky and S. Y. Agnon are described in a pleasent, flowing way. Sieged Jerusalem is described, the attacks, the feeling of suffocation, the crowdedness, boys' school. A reader will find here a sort of history of the upcoming State of Israel, brought by an artist, and very pleasent for the reading. The second part comes closer and describes his parents' families in Europe and their paths to Israel- gristmill builders, poets, romanticists, renowned researchers and well-informed men. The author describes them with amazing sensibility, places where the author had never been come to life in his writing and the reader gets to visit Russia, Poland, the author's mother's mansion, his grandfather Efraim's gristmill, all without leaving one's seat. The third part id without a doubt the most sensitive part. The author reveals in great detail life as a sole child to his parents. The cold, charged relationship between his parents. His mother's depressions, his father's helplessness, his own helplessness as a child watching his mother wither away in front of his very eyes. There's a feeling as though the author himself had been avoiding dealing with this part of his life up until the writing of the novel. As though along with the author, the reader exposes his past and looks back for the first time to sort out these sensitive issues in his past. It is as though the author is asking himself "What else could I have done? Why was my father so cold, insensitive, clinging to jokes and stupid pranks when the situation needed a true, profound point of view. The author does not treat his father kindly and is very strict with him. He is described as a curious, very informed person, with a renowned knowledge in linguistics, history, and many other fields, yet in the field of emotion he is completely shut off. The escape and the choice in books is described in the story of the author's life. In a house where reading is sanctified as a mighty action, the author was drawn even as a child to the books that surrounded the house. His father's uncle, Professor Clausner's obsessive reading, their over-crammed library, these things are described in a way reserved for a person who's childhood had been highlighted by literature. The author also leads the reader to the understanding of how he had become a writer. How the impulse existed in him, how it got out. What did it truly take. How one's way of looking at life truly changes. How standing in the line in the local grocery store and examining the people before you in the line becomes part of the never-ceasing work of a writer, bound by his own rules never to stop looking at the reality and percieving it, combining it into his books. One would be lucky to run into a book describing do realistically the events that motivate a person to writing. The deep, almost voyeuristic, exposure that the reader gets into the author's life is rare and fascinatingly done. The three aforementioned parts are combined within eachother. Their boundaries are blurred, and thus a description of the israeli Declaration of Independence turns into a beautiful peek into the author and his father hugging on the bed, "Close as they had never been before". A must-read book.

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