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Letter to the Reader:

Smart Friends Revisited

We are closing in on 12 years of publishing Neworld Review, nine of which were online. To me, that is a great feat indeed. And we are not slowing down. In fact, this issue is the largest we have published.

A friend of mine, Linda Jue, who lives in San Francisco, emailed me a few weeks ago and asked, “How do you keep finding such great writers?” She was referring to what I thought was an exceptional article that Jan Alexander wrote in her “Conversation with Kurt Andersen” in issue No. 77.

I loved the question, because it goes to the heart of why we are still standing, when millions of sites have failed, and are failing daily. Anyone these days can put up a web site for only a small amount of money. It can be artfully done, although too many site-builders forget the fact that a good art director is any site’s best friend.

They also can throw up the kind of content that will grasp the attention of countless millions and go “viral.” But what they are selling is fool’s gold. It has no substance whatsoever. And soon, their millions of look-a-loos fade away, looking elsewhere for yet another hit of viralness (if such a word exists).

Our audience, however, are looking for something else. To use an apt cliché, they are looking for something meaningful that they can hang their hats on and tell their friends about. Also, to go again to Linda’s point, some diehard members of the writing community, sick and tired of nothingness and viralness, have searched hard for a magazine like Neworld Review because they want a freehand to say what they will, without big brother telling them what to say. As Professor Michael Moreau, who joined us just a year ago, said, “This (Neworld Review) is a real oasis.”

In addition, we have steadily added new features, and will continue to add more until we become a full-fledged arts magazine like Neworld: The Multi-Cultural Magazine of the Arts I published in Los Angeles in the ‘70s.

So, we are moving on and growing stronger with each issue thanks to my smart friends. As I once said to you several years ago: “it is great to have smart friends. With them, you can accomplish almost anything.”

And you, my reader, are among my smart friends. Enjoy this issue of Neworld Review.

Fred Beauford

Editor-in-Chief

Publisher

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Neworld Review
Vol. 11 No 79 - 2018


Editor-in-Chief
/Publisher

Fred Beauford

Online Managing Editor

Richard D. O'Brien

Associate Editor

Jane M. McCabe

Fiction Editor

N West Moss

Editor-at-Large

Jan Alexander

Senior Editors

Herb Boyd
Michael Moreau
M.J. Moore
Molly Moynahan

Director of Photography

Kara Fox

President

Alexis Beauford

Contributing Writers

Larry Baker
Todd Steven Burroughs
Sally Cobau
Steve Fisch: Portfolio
Robert Fleming
Suzanne Gagnier: Portfolio
Emily Rosen
Jane Smiley
Jerry Ward

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The Neworld Review is a publication of Fred Beauford, 47 Stewart Ave,
Irvington, NJ. 07111.

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Neworld Review cannot be held responsible for unsolicited photographs or manuscripts.

All correspondence to:

Fred Beauford
Editor-in Chief/Publisher

Neworld Review
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This Month's Articles

REVIEWING

The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump

By Michiko Kakutani

Reviewed by Michael Moreau


Michiko Kakutani

How We See the World Now

Probably the first lie you told was to the person closest to you in the world, your mother. You may have been four years old and the smell of baking chocolate chip cookies was mesmerizing. She had told you could have one after they had cooled on the kitchen counter, then one more after dinner. You couldn’t wait. When she had gone outdoors to water the garden, you took not one, but three out of the pan. You wolfed them down quickly, before she came back in.

She caught you rushing out of the kitchen and confronted you. Did you eat the cookies? You said no. But the circumstantial evidence was overwhelming. She said your father would deal with you when he got home—not for eating the cookies, but for lying. The next three hours were an eternity of agony. You learned that lying was punishable by something worse than death.

Years later in college you were taught that plagiarism is one of the greatest crimes and could quickly end your academic career. You learned how to attribute everything that isn’t common knowledge or your own opinion to its original source.

Then, in newspaper work everything you write is fact checked down to the most seemingly innocuous detail. A call in the night could be from a sallow editor asking if Councilman X actually said, 63 cents out of every dollar in tax revenue went to policing?

And then all those lessons in truth telling seemed to vanish down a rathole.

At this writing the largest wildfire in California history is uncontained, vaporizing hundred-year-old redwoods in a horrific path of destruction, snuffing out small villages once populated by logging families whose way of life is finished.

Shockingly, if shock is even still possible, in the midst of this calamity, President Donald Trump announced that the fires could be stopped if the state of California was not recklessly diverting massive amounts of needed water into the Pacific Ocean and preventing the forests from being cleared by logging companies.

There was no truth to the presidential pronouncements. Water isn’t being diverted into the ocean and fires like the one near Redding are not fought primarily with water but with firebreaks and fuel clearance. As for the pro-logging statement, the fact is that the over logging of old growth trees leaves only saplings and brush that act as kindling for conflagrations.

The problem is that truth in Trumpland has become scarcer than fire-free months in California.

In her new book The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump recently-retired, longtime New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani draws on years of wide reading to trace the path that led to our current truth-free condition.

Trump may be the apotheosis of the anti-truth movement, but Kakutani finds the roots of the problem goes far back into our national psyche. Philip Roth, fifty years ago, referred to “the indigenous American berserk” and historian Richard Hofstader, in 1964, wrote in “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” of the “heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy” that has long run in parallel to the ideals of “truth, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

In what now seems to be a grand paradox, in that same year, John Rousselot, an official in the John Birch Society, and also a congressman from a district near Los Angeles, wrote of the United Nations: “We know that it is an instrument of the Soviet Communist conspiracy.” Square this with Trump’s sycophantic embrace of the ex-KGB operative and current Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

This curious Russo-philia also extends to what has become one of Trump’s pet descriptors for the hated media. “Enemies of the people” is a phrase coined by Lenin and then favored by Stalin to brand anyone who he didn’t consider sufficiently loyal. Millions of people so labeled were driven to gulags or savagely executed in Larentiy Beria’s prisons. A favored form of execution was a slow crushing of the skull in a vice.

His words have had the intended effect. An Ipsos poll just released at the time this is written indicates that a plurality of Republicans—43 percent—believe that Trump should have the authority to close down CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. That’s what it said: close down.

Kakutani’s examines how “a disregard for facts, the displacement of reason by emotion, and the corrosion of language are diminishing the very value of truth, and what that means for America and the world.”

There has always been a strain in the American character that was observable in the mid-19th Century by Alexis de Tocqueville, the French writer who greatly admired American democracy but also observed a lack of civic debate and a tendency to believe charlatans and snake oil salesmen over scientific fact—a strain that Mark Twain relished in depicting.

But Kakutani places the origins of our current epidemic of truth-denying in the 1960s where a relativism germinated in the culture wars and was embraced by the New Left, which was “eager to expose the biases of Western, bourgeois, male-dominated thinking.” Concurrently, academics promoted the “gospel of post-modernism, which argued.....Read More



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REVIEWING

Ella: A Biography

By Geoffrey Mark

Reviewed by Fred Beauford


Ella Fitzgerald

I fell in love with Ella Fitzgerald in 1980. I had listened to her for years on television, on the radio and in the occasional movie that featured her. Of course, she was an great singer, but often seemed to me, old fashion. For example, her breakout hit, which occurred when she was a still teenager, and I was not yet born, was in 1938, “A-Tisket, A-Tasket.”

I had never owned any of her records despite my being the editor of Black Creation: The Quarterly of Black Arts and Letters, Soul, the magazine of black music, and Neworld: The Multi-Cultural Magazine of the Arts.

However, that changed when I received two CD sets from a record company that wanted me to review them in Neworld Magazine. They were The George and Ira Gershwin Songbook, and The Cole Porter Songbook. In a few shorts months after receiving them, hating LA so much that I turned and gave it the finger as I rode the Greyhound bus out of town, I packed up everything I owned, including the unopened CD’s, closed my beloved magazine down, and moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

However, I was still teaching a Magazine Making and Publishing course at USC, one night a week, the first such magazine course of its kind on the West Coast. I would take the Greyhound in the morning and take the redeye bus at night, right after my class was over.
To deal with the tedium of sitting on a bus for so many hours, for some reason, I first brought along the Gershwin songbook, plugged in my earphones, and soon fell deeply in love with such a marvelous voice.

Now I knew why Downbeat, the renown jazz magazine, year after year, named her the number one jazz singer in the world.

***

Ella, like many black singers born at the time, was born in 1918 in Newport News, Virginia, and was the product of a broken home of common-law parents.

Her mother Tempie and her father William, soon separated, and Tempie moved the family to Yonkers, in Westchester County, New York. Mother and daughter moved in with Tempie’s Portuguese lover, Joseph Da Silva, often referred to as Ella’s stepfather. Ella always said nice things about him to the press, but author Geoffrey Mark uncovers the sex abuse that he inflicted on her when she was a child.

They lived in an ethnically mixed area of Italians, Spanish and blacks. Her mother died at the age of 38. The reason for her early death is murky, and afterwards things because rough for the young Ella.

Writes Mark, “Ella’s aspirations for Yonkers success were ended when her hardworking mother died in 1932. The next two years were perhaps Ella’s most difficult. Joe Da Silva turned increasingly to alcohol and increasingly turned his attention to young Ella. Whether he was simply comforting himself from grief, taking out his anger and grief on the youngster, or actually saw her as a sex object, the man was sexually abusing her.”

Two years later Ella left his house and moved in with her mother’s sister’s home on 145th Street in Harlem. That didn’t work out well, and she tried to run away. She was caught by the authorities and sent to the New York State Training School for Girls.

Writes Mark, “It boggles the mind that this Dickensian institution had Ella Fitzgerald in their midst but would not allow her to sing in the choir. It was restricted to white girls only.”

She was asked to come back after she became famous, but “turned them down in colorful language.”
She finally fled from the Institution and became semi-homeless on the streets of Harlem, sleeping where ever she could, hanging out with “Ladies of the Night” and becoming a number runner at the height of the Great Depression.  But she found out that she could sing.
As almost always for blacks, it started in the church, in this case the Bethany African Methodist Episcopal Church of Harlem.

At this time black Harlem had three major assets: music, dance and singing. One white wag .....Read More



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CONVERSATION

Is There a Place for Us Hipsters?

A conversation with Andrew Martin

By Jan Alexander

Andrew Martin

All eras considered, the first half of the 2010s was a carefree time to be a young writer living off the bourgeoisie grid. To become an underemployed artist was a brave life choice largely because paying rent in Brooklyn required resources mostly available only in a large trust fund; but unlike the Beat Generation or the children of Woodstock, to be a young hipster was not in itself an act of defiance against the establishment, the political system or the consumer economy.

Nor was such defiance neither a meaningful topic of conversation nor art, and so your main outlets were existential irony with a steady chaser of booze and weed.  The political mainstream itself seemed to be moving closer to the values of the young, multicultural, and gifted—right up until November 8, 2016.

That cutoff date is on Andrew Martin’s mind when we sit down to talk about his first novel, Early Work, which carries the insinuation of autobiography in its title and casts a rancorously comic eye on the lives of hip young writers in those relatively complacent years before Trump’s rise to power proved there is a war of ideals raging within our borders and sounded a call to join the Resistance.

So, I am prepared to ask Martin about the state of being a young hip writer writing about young hip writers in an era that suddenly qualifies as bygone.

“Someone described my novel as apolitical,” he says. There is a touch of outrage in his voice, though he quickly acknowledges “the characters are sort of complacent, for sure.” He wrote the book during the Obama years, and he reminisces that “The politics were very complicated and there was the rise of the tea party, but it felt, at least from where we were sitting, like the dam was going to hold.”

He set out to write about a young protagonist named Peter Cunningham, slightly like himself except that Peter is too busy drinking at dive bars and falling in love with one woman while another supports him to get a novel finished.  The story begins with Peter contemplating his own self-mocking arrogance: “... I do tend to like people in practice, even though I’ve built an airtight case against them in principle. It’s a natural response, I guess, to being raised by relatively kind parents who taught me to be polite and decent and rely on the company and help of others but to also consider myself smarter and, on some fundamental level, more deserving of complete fulfillment than anyone in the world besides maybe my sisters.”

Peter lives in Charlottesville, VA, where his girlfriend, Julia, is a medical student at the University of Virginia as well as a poet. They met at Columbia University, but they’ve left New York and acquired a dog; it looks like a semblance of a settled-down relationship until Peter embarks on a lustful and misguided pursuit of Leslie,.....Read More



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REVIEWING

The Promise and the Dream ~ The Untold Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy

By David Margolick

Reviewed by M. J. Moore


Book Jacket

What a Time It Was . . .

For fifty years now, two political assassinations in 1968 have haunted America.

When assassins’ bullets annihilated both Dr. Martin Luther King and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy within a time span of scarcely three months (MLK was cut down in April, RFK in June of 1968), irreparable damage resulted to the nation’s psyche and soul.

A telling remark by Congressman John Lewis, a major figure in the history of the 1960s, rings true: “When these two young men were murdered, something died in all of us.  We were robbed of part of our future.”

In different ways, across demographics, regarding everything from the Civil Rights crusade of the 1960s to the increasingly militant antiwar movement that dominated the news, as the Vietnam War continued its perennial agonies, the dual murders of MLK and RFK made 1968 a shattering, disorienting, tragic year.

In The Promise and the Dream: The Untold Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, author David Margolick, an ace reporter and independent historian, whose decades of contributions to The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and other magazines and newspapers make for a stunning track record, sets out to do what no other biographer, scholar, or historical scribe has attempted—to ascertain how the unfolding destinies of King and Kennedy dovetailed throughout the 1960s.

Margolick succeeds at this challenging narrative quest.  And “challenging” is too weak a word to describe what he faced.   In short, the martyrdom of both men, brought about by their shared doom in the spring and summer of 1968, has created the illusion of partnership in the public imagination.  Yet, the men hardly ever met.

We tend to think that MLK and RFK were always allies.  Kindred spirits.  Probably very much in contact with each other from the dawn of the 1960s (with its Freedom Rides and sit-ins and the March on Washington) to the latter part of that fractured epoch (when “We Shall Overcome” shifted to “Black Power!” and Vietnam became America’s ultimate fault line).  The truth is far.....Read More



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PORTFOLIO

The Beauty of Water

By Suzanne Gagnier


Suzanne Gagnier

Sometimes I take so much for granted. After reviewing a series of my photographs, I realize how important water is in my existence.

Taking photographs enhances my concentration and observation.  Every cloud, every drop of rain. When lightning strikes or I hear the sound of thunder each and every moment is another possibility to capture an image. The early morning sunrise gives a light which reflects color in a completely different way than the early evening and sunset. The bark of a tree, the beautiful butterflies.  My senses are awakened. Walking near....Read More



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POEM

The Ferlinghetti School of Poetics

A Poem by Joan Gelfand



Joan Gelfand

“All that we see, or seem, is but a dream within a dream.” Edgar Allen Poe

I: The dream within the dream within the dream
What is it, Ferlinghetti,
Taking star turns in my dreams?
Strolling in front of cars
Haunting alleyways, stairways,
Bars? Beating moth like flitting through
San Francisco’s sex fraught avenues? In North Beach
Where XXX marks art and
Nasty commerce collide, intersect Columbus,
Telegraph Hill, Jack Kerouac Way.
You are fog whispering in from the sea
On another sunny day.

“There’s a breathless hush on the freeway tonight,
Beyond the ledges of concrete/Restaurants fall .....Read More



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VISUAL ART

The World of Jane M. McCabe


Jane M. McCabe

The paintings you see here are the work of Jane M McCabe, who is the associate editor and regular contributor to the Neworld Review.

Jane holds a master’s of painting degree from the San .....Read More



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CRITICISM

Twain’s Macroaggressions

An essay by Jerry Ward


book jacket

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) continues in 2018 to be evidence and example that African American impact is a powerful determinant in definitions of what is an American. The novel exposes the vanity of invoking "the universal" when the local or vernacular will suffice.    This point is focused in one "civilizing" response to the novel, namely a 1948 introduction by Lionel Trilling.

Trilling concluded that (1) the greatness of the novel lies in "its power of telling the truth" and that (2) the novel possesses the truth of honesty and "also the truth of moral passion; it deals directly with the virtue and depravity of man's heart."

When the word "heart", a mere organ of the body in pain, is replaced with the more elevated word "soul," it is possible to have significant awakenings, if and only if one wills to have them.

The concept of truth bedevils our lives. We argue endlessly about the nature of truth, about its properties. Yet, we seldom deny that we are saturated with truth. It is through close readings of Huckleberry Finn that we discover truth is as elusive as love and quite a bit stranger.

Yes, it is strange that wearing the mask of Mark Twain, Samuel L. Clemens opted to confess a truth about pre-Civil War notions that it was legitimate, under rule of law and the United States Constitution, to own a body stamped "nigger."

He chose to tell a truth about his people, and that choice is a reason for adding the subtitle The Souls of White Folk as a clue for understanding the breadth of the novel. Like Huck, Twain ultimately told a truth about his people. The recognition may be as dreadful for them as El Negro was for Melville's character Benito Cereno.

Huckleberry Finn teems with American humor in its purposeful use of American language, the vernacular, to commit one macroaggression after another against the antebellum body politic of.....Read More



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SHORT STORY

Oysters in the Gowanus

A Short Story by Sharon Dale Wexler


Sharon Dale Wexler

We begin our journey and head out east of the inlet, after monsters.  It is the time of day when the party boat engines coat the air with black smoke, and the rubber boots of mates shake the wooden planks on the dock.  We talk how rough the water is.  And how it changes.  We go out through the Canal into the Harbor and anchor in front of the Statue of Liberty and watch the water turn from green to brown.

Whether we hook up or not we laugh at our luck.  While bottom fishing, he holds the line tightly and me loosely, loops his arm around my waist.  They are biting.  We are a team.  He sets the hook, and I reel in a flattie the size of a doormat, a fluke.  He scrubs off the blood with dish soap.  I rinse off after him.  We go home, and he sautés a fish and corn dinner.

The next day we go out again.  Although late in the season, we look for keepers.  But we keep the shorties too.  With nothing more significant biting all day, yet again he brings up going after a monster.

I scrub the teak and sunbathe.  He joins me on the bow. Just me laying up against his cool flesh, requires I contemplate his mood turn from sweet to sour. His cold flesh sizzles on the gleaming plastic.

Then he bites my shoulder the way he tests the water with his foot.  I yell, "No."  but it does not hurt.

“Do not use that word,” he says.  “No is the unsexiest word.”

I smuggle a bunch of bananas in the galley.  Around the docks, there is a rule no bananas on the boat.  It is bad luck.  Despite the contraband, we hook up fish, and people on the docks say we are a blessed couple.

In the morning, I hear him saying, today’s the day I get my monster.

We cut loose from the dock, head into the wind.  He says, “Steer and watch for birds, we are loose, anything can happen.” He runs all over the deck running rigs, setting out the poles, checking the lines. We are trolling, motors quiet.  The engine is rigged on remote control.  I am controlling the motor with my foot, using my hands for fishing.  Then he goes below.  He goes below often.  I do not particularly care where he goes.  I purposely am off course.  I am looking for birds.  There are none.  I feel calm.  I do not remember how much time elapses or ever feeling this feeling on land.  I see a white cap on the water, and I ask myself whether instead of white foam crests from breaking waves it may be a big fish, or a pod not ready to separate. And then I realize there is no land and the sky turns black with birds.

He offers to make hot coffee but never moves.  Fog forms like steam on the water and the birds leave. We change into rain gear, and he turns on, in the galley, the red whorehouse lights.  He asks me again to tell him the story of my lover and me, but my account is so different than he wants, I find my memory failing.  He reminds me that at the memorial for my ex-lover I recited a line from the poem. The death of the poet was kept from his poems.

“Recited by heart in front of a crowd of strangers,” he says. 

Then it is time to go out to the galley and get a sandwich.  I dream of the peanut butter and banana we shared on the top of Mt. Katahdin.  For most of the climb, all I really wanted was scotch, but the whole point of climbing the mountain, he said, was the view.  How surprising 6,000 miles up to be greeted on the top by discarded condom wrappers.

When I ask him whether he remembers the sandwich we shared on Mt Katahdin, he says he does, but I can tell he is lying.  He does not even remember our anniversary. The fog bounces the same horn back and forth. He wants me to lie down in the bunk next to him.  I say, "No." Despite my no, I lie down.  He tests the water, leaving.....Read More



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REVIEWING

Nemesis (A Novel)

By David Pinto

Reviewed by M. J. Moore


book jacket

Careful What You Wish For

One of the essential elements that strong fiction writing usually has in common with good screenwriting (whether for films or television) is that steering characters into conflict or danger as soon as possible is a sure to hook the audience.  Right off the bat.

Furthermore, if the conflict or danger has something to do with a romance gone wrong or desire gone haywire, so much the better. It’s a given that any sexual angle will spice things up as well—thus risky or erotic business creates plot points.

So far, so good.  Now, if you can overlay all the above with a bit of mystery (let’s say, a detective story) that ropes in a lawyer or perhaps a doctor and, of course, the dead body of someone elusive (it helps if that character was a beautiful, sensual female) then as a storyteller you are holding all the aces.  A winning narrative hand, indeed.

What makes David Pinto’s debut novel, Nemesis, so startling is that he deftly invokes all the above not just in the first few chapters of his riveting noir-style novel, but, he does so within the first few pages—actually, he hits the bull’s-eye on page one.

Readers are as impatient as moviegoers.  That’s why screenwriters are compelled (almost always) to make the first ten minutes of the film (known as “the set-up”) as captivating as can be.  Similarly, writers are wise to waste none of the reader’s time.

Well, novelist David Pinto may have set a record for narrative lapel-grabbing.  Here is how Nemesis begins :

“Police station?”

“You must come immediately,” Elliot Barrett II implored his lawyer and best friend.

“What in the hell are you doing in a police station?” Ted Lapoltsky shouted.

“Can’t talk out here.”

“Just tell me if you are in some kind of trouble.”

“I think it’s a mix up.”

“Elliot, listen to me. Don’t say anything to .....Read More



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POEM

Flamenco Dreams

A Poem by Herb Bryce


Herb Bryce

She lit the flame in flamenco,
His feet were a flurry,
Her castanets clattered
A frantic sweet rhythm and
His heart matched her hot beat.
They were exotics,
Built of the human kind and
They danced in the caves
By that Spanish old town—
Just outside the Alhambrah
With its lace patterned walls
And oh so reflective old pool...

And she takes a rest
Between their dance shows,
Having reaped a good harvest
Of tips, which they share.

And she reflects upon
Her dance days, and she dreams
Of an easier life. But she
Is a beauty and much in demand
And she wants to be left all alone,.....Read More



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REVIEWING

A Tale of Love and Darkness

By Amos Oz

Translated from the Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange

Reviewed by Jane McCabe


book jacket

I chose to read this book for this reason: I was interested in what it was like to grow up, like its author did, in Israel since its inception as a modern nation in 1948 and its development since. I figured the book would be good because Oz is Israel’s most widely published novelist. This book, however, is not a novel; rather it’s a memoir mostly about his childhood and early adulthood.

I was not disappointed—from its first pages I was enchanted and felt as though I was reading the writing of a kindred spirit. I had the same experience as he when as I child: I was so deeply absorbed in reading Little House on the Prairie that I thought I was there and when called to dinner it took a few seconds to return to the “real” world. Oz writes of his own absorption in a book as follows: “When my father asked me, half angrily, half affectionately, what was the matter with me this time, it took a while for me to come back to this world…of everyday chores.”

Amos Oz’s parents were European Jews who settled in Jerusalem in the 1930’s. His father’s family was from Odessa; they were a family of scholars. His great uncle, Dr. Joseph Klausner, was a famous Israeli linguist. His father’s great disappointment was his inability to get a teaching position, however, in those days Israel was rife with scholars. His father’s brother David had refused to leave Odessa and was killed by the Nazis.

His mother family was from Rovno, Poland. She was middle sister of three; her father became wealthy and purchased a large home in Rovno. Their mother was something of a harridan. His mother’s psychological disposition was.....Read More



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