Judas by Amos Oz


Judas by Amos Oz

Israeli fiction

Original title – שיצא לאור ב

Translator Nicholas De Lange

Source – Personnel copy

I’m back and reviewing the first of the books I have been reading for the Man booker longlist I hope over the next few week or so to get most if not all the books reviewed before the shortlist although this year we will announce ours a little later as this year we have all had more books to read than other years . First up is the second Israeli book on the longlist I had reviewed the first by David Grossman  before the longlist was announced . This is a book by one of my favourite writers and one I had purchased before longlist as I have reviewed Amos Oz twice on the blog and both were translated by Nicholas De Lange who in fact strangely messaged the blog about the book Days of Ziklag which forms a small part of this novel as one of the main characters .

A woman of around forty-five, she held herself erect and moved around the room as if well aware of her feminine power. She was wearing a plain light coloured dress that reached her ankles and a simple red sweater. Her long dark flowed softly down on one side of her neck to land on the mound of her left breast .Beneath the hair nodded a pair of large wooden earings .Her clothes hugged her body

Atalia captures the young mans eye at first sight when he comes for the job with Wald

Shumel is a young man who is trying to finish his degree but unable to do so quits and just as he is about to leave sses a job for a student on a board at the university , he applies for this job which is to take note and write down and be a partner in speaking to an old man Gershom Wald , he starts talking with the young man about his life and his own life , he sparks a light in the boy who had gone out and the is the story of Judas what was his person , a difficult story and the way history has viewed him this is done through a number of books that he has read Oz lists the books in his notes about the book. The book is set in the sixties and adding to Shumel life at the house is the third member of the household Atalia she is the former daughter in law of his son who cares for the older man  , but capture the eye of the younger man she is 45 , but looks younger and her father was also connected to the begining of the state , which is a main thread in the book as we see how the old man admired David Ben -Gurion  calling him the most exalted person of the war and even now , meanwhile Atalia whose   late father was one of the few to question the tactics of the time by David Ben-Gurion as he was a the heart of the regime at that time  , this time and the outcome of the decisions these men made is  strangely is also the time that is covered by Days of Ziklag which follows one of the army groups on the ground . as the young man gets closer to the older woman .

Gershom Wald was convinced that Nestor never existed and that there had never been any converted preist, but that all these foul texts were written by narrow indeed little Jews because they were afraid of the attractive power of christianity and trued to exploit the protection of Muslim rule by attacking the figure of Jesus while sheltering safely beneath the cloak of Muhammad

Shummel disagreed:,” but the Polemic of nestor the priest shows a certain acquaintance with the world of christianity , a knowledge of the gospels , familiarity with christian theology

Wald just loves to argue it is what keeps him going so he will always take the opposite side .

This book is all about how the man Judas is seen , but not just him anyone that does what he did and could be viewed one way or another , even who was Jesus a christian or a Jews ! , this is a really interesting field and one that the two men discuss as the older man tries to spark the interest lost in the younger man also whilst Shumel falls for the older man ex daughter in Law . As ever the translation by Nicholas De lange is very readable and he had said he would love to translate the epic days of ziklag one of the best Hebrew novels  of all time , we got the first book by its writer S yizhar. This is a thought provoking book and for me one of the best of the list I have read so far .


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Hill
    Apr 05, 2017 @ 23:12:58

    Hello Stu, and welcome back after your unexpected bereavement. I hope your friends and family and helping you to get through this sad time.
    I like Amos Oz too, so I think I might track this one down to read as well.
    I have been doing my little bit to help and with Tony from Messenger’s Booker’s help have gathered the reviews together and (so far) there are 36 on the Combined Reviews page. (I’ve just added this one of yours). That should make it easier for you to find the ones you’ve missed while you’ve been away See https://anzlitlovers.com/2017/03/28/2017-man-booker-international-prize-longlist-combined-shadow-jury-reviews/


  2. beckylindroos
    Apr 06, 2017 @ 01:49:08

    Ah me too – a fan of Amos Oz. And I already have Judas on my wish list so i may get to it this week thanks to this nudge from you. Along with Judas is War and Turpentine – it’s just about time. Thanks Stu!


  3. MarinaSofia
    Apr 06, 2017 @ 08:46:35

    One of my favourite writers as well.
    Good to see you back, thinking of you.


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  8. E Tristram
    Jul 17, 2017 @ 18:37:14

    I loved Judas my Amos Oz as well. An outstanding work, and I’m glad to have found other people who enjoy it – there are a lot of ‘haters’ out there in relation to this book, I’ve found. Thank you for your review. If you’re interested, I have a review on my own blog – but I think it’s safe to say we agree that it’s brilliant!


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  10. Davida Chazan
    Jul 04, 2020 @ 04:45:12

    Hey there… just wanted to help out here. The Hebrew title of this book is
    הבשורה על-פי יהודה


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April 2017


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