10 February 2012

I Am Obviously Not In Love with Amos Oz

Photo by Micha Bar-Am/Magnum Photos. 
 Not in the least, of course! He's a bit too old for me. Ah, if I'd been born 20--or even 10!--years earlier, well, who knows...

At any rate, since I started revising the "novel" I started as an undergrad, I've reread my favorite Oz work, Black Box; read To Know a Woman and A Tale of Love and Darkness ; and even finished My Michael. (I've also reread A.B. Yehoshua's novel The Lover and, since school started, finished Late Divorce.) I even skimmed the odd book of Oz crit.

I first read Black Box in 1996 when I was studying abroad at Tel Aviv University. It was for many years my favorite book. I was moved by the characters' ability to bare themselves to each other emotionally. Of course, time and distance (the novel takes the form of letters and telegrams) probably facilitated that openness. Years later, I reread it and was like, What was I on about? Having reread it in the past weeks, I'm like, What was I thinking? This book is absolutely brilliant!! This time, I especially noted the homoerotic currents between Alex, Michel, and Manfred. I've found the way Oz handles sexuality very interesting. What I mean by that is that he's evocative, rather than graphic. This is fascinating to me because evoking invites the reader into a coauthorship--a filling in of the gaps.

If I had a literary wish I'd grill Amos Oz about Black Box. Where did the idea come from? Literary wish part B would be grilling his translator Nicholas de Lange. I'm like, How does he do it? What does the original Hebrew have to be like?Written by angels?!