An ingenious, witty, behind-the-scenes novel about eight hours in the life of an author.
A literary celebrity is in Tel Aviv on a stifling hot night to give a reading from his new book.While the obligatory inane questions ("Why do you write? What is it like to be famous? Do you write with a pen or on a computer?) are being asked and answered, his attention wanders and he begins to invent lives for the strangers he sees around him. Among them are Yakir Bar-Orian Zhitomirski, a self-styled literary guru; Tsefania Beit-Halachmi, a poet (whose work provides the novel’s title); and Rochele Reznik, a professional reader, with whom the Author has a brief but steamy sexual skirmish; to say nothing of Ricky the waitress, the real object of his desire. One life story builds on anotherand the author finds himself unexpectedly involved with his creations.
Nicholas de Lange is a professor at the University of Cambridge and a renowned translator. He has translated Amos Oz’s work since the 1960s.
"From the prodigious Oz comes a delightfully elusive if slight story of imagination, talent and the transitory nature of fame...Stamped with Oz's charm and graceful skill in creating rich characters, this is a must for any fan."
"Israeli novelist Amos Oz performs an exquisite balancing act in his taut, evocative novel Rhyming Life & Death, which immerses readers in the vagaries of the creative process, never letting us forget that there’s an author pulling the strings, making the decisions, however arbitrary, and making us complicit in the illusion that these words on the page somehow represent lives lived, destinies fulfilled and desires thwarted...[A] spellbinding fable."
-Kirkus Reviews, UpFront Review
"Hilarious and profound, Oz’s tale of a mischievous taleteller ponders the eroticism of stories and the mysterious ways language and literature bridge the divide between inner and outer worlds; and it helps us make some sense, however gossamer, of life and death. A slyly philosophical novel."
-Donna Seaman, Booklist"Beguiling...funny and philosophical...a surprisingly playful departure for Oz." - Financial Times "The book is a meditation on the art of writing, the relationship between literature and life, between life and death, and also about the nature and significance of literary fame....the work of a master...A book you are likely to return to." - The Scotsman "...it is fascinating to witness this assured and experienced writer address such basic novelistic concerns as life and death, love and sex, language and silence, along a spectrum from cynicism, through humour to candour." - Sunday Telegraphy "...a deft way with quirky deail, a master class in interlocking character sketches, and a fable on themes of sex, death and writing ;pitched somewhere between the fictional universes of JM Coetzee and Milan Kundera." - The Guardian "Delectable...Amos Oz's Rhyming Life and Death is a midsummer night's dream."