28 October 2010 'A Perfect Peace' in Poland

Świat Książki has recently published the Polish translation of another book by Amos Oz A Perfect Peace (originally released in 1982). This book of Israeli writer tells a story of life in a kibbutz and the conflict of generations. It is a testimony of the dream of a “real” community and discouragement with its stagnant forms, a recollection and criticism of old ideals of the Israeli society.

In his new book, Oz is intrigued mainly by undecidable antinomies and essentially unsolvable problems faced by the protagonists – the picture of the kibbutz which is the setting of this novel remains ambiguous till the very end and cannot be defined in terms of simple ethical or political oppositions. Again, Oz ensures that the names of his protagonists and names of fictional places are naturally connected with authentic names and historical events. Like other novels by Oz, this book defies all simplifications; if there is any risk of the narration becoming superficial, an external factor (e.g. an unexpected event or new protagonist) is introduced right on time to shatter the reader’s prejudices and conjecture and force him to make continuous reflections on the identity of the modern man.
The protagonists of books by Oz are also largely unpredictable. The author describes and documents their behaviour, but leaves much room for ambiguity; not every reaction, as he seems to say, should be clarified by the text.

The same elements of surprise and unpredictability and the strictly confined space of narration are also present in another book by the Israeli writer, which was published in Poland by Rebis this year. Scenes from A Village Life is a collection of stories set in the fictional space of an Israeli village, where the intricately weaved network of events and phenomena seems to serve mainly as a background for suggestive understatements.