Books: Of lovely writing, paper bags and congenial homes

Matt Nesvisky fawns over Amos Oz’s ‘Judas,’ frowns at Jonathan Safran Foer’s ‘Here I Am’ and is left with mixed feelings by an anthology of fiction from the Forward.

By MATT NESVISKY
January 1, 2017 13:16
Israeli author Amos Oz

Israeli author Amos Oz. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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THIS LITERARY season features a renowned Israeli novelist at the top of his form, an acclaimed American-Jewish novelist at the bottom of his form, and a collection of Jewish short stories somewhere at the middle of the form.

The first compelling element in Amos Oz’s “Judas” is the novel’s sustained and pitch-perfect setting and tone. It’s Jerusalem in winter in the late 1950s. For 300 pages it’s always gloomy, rainy and cold, an atmosphere that reflects the struggling and uncertain Jewish state in its first decade.

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