Jokes, history and haunted souls
HERE’S HOW The JC reviewed David Grossman’s and Amos Oz’s novels when they were published last year:
Grossman’s new novel was “a bravura performance”, wrote Stoddard Martin. “He presents in continuous narrative the monologue of a standup comedian on a hot summer night in Netanya. There are jokes, but the process here may be therapy as well as entertainment. The comedian’s ‘act’ is his life story” including “failed marriages and lost children.
“This remarkable book, rendered into English by Grossman’s veteran translator Jessica Cohen, teases the reader as nakedly as the comedian does his crowd… we encounter an implied invitation to set the book down but the performer’s struggle to muffle and at the same time release the howls from his soul is too profoundly haunting.”
In Judas, set in Israel in 1959-60, a dropout student moves in with a disabled intellectual and his daughter-in-law. David Herman wrote: “Judas is partly about three intense people who briefly come together. But it’s really a novel of ideas and history, related to the Jewish past and the early state of Israel. The question is whether… the novel is too abstract or will readers be haunted by the mysterious and beautiful Atalia and the two brilliant men she lives with?”