The Same Sea; a new author

It is not often I get excited about a new book these days, and from my previous entry you'll see how I had a very dispiriting experience recently.

Imagine my excitement to recently not only find a new book, but to discover a new author (it gets better too!).  The author in question is Amos Oz and I have been intrigued to discover he writes in Hebrew.  There are quite a few Israeli authors I respect and have read, but with the exception of Isaac Bashevis Singer (who wrote in Yiddish, quite a different proposition!) they all write in English.  The book was, I thought, his most recent work and a random choice from the library; "The Same Sea".  Turns out it was published in 1999 and that Amos Oz has written extensively before and after.

I am going to take my time and savour this book, and it is written in a fashion that lends itself to that.  If one were to flick through the pages, one could be forgiven for thinking it were a volume of poetry (when I selected it I was unsure if I had a short novel or a rather large collection of poems). I have only taken in the first twenty or so pages and it appears a narrative will emerged, but that is not a formed one yet.  Each entry stands in it's own right as a piece of pretty good writing though.

It gets me thinking how much of this might be a by product of the original language.  Obviously the translator ( Nicholas de Lange) take a large measure of credit here.

It so happens I had popped into the library, not my usual branch, to pick up a book for my daughter.  With this in mind and admiring the author I noticed he had written one work categorised by the published as "for children".  We had discussed this over dinner, and I had explained to my daughter, that beyond "pre literate" books I did not believe much in the idea of "childrens' books" insomuch as a story is a story is a story.  I am keen for her to step beyond cliches.

Anyway imagine my discovery that his childrens' book "Soumchi" dating from 1978 concerns a Jewish boy riding a bicycle to Africa, and trading it for a railway and associated misadventures.  I'm hooked already and very much looking forward to reading this to my daughter (she is likely not to like it, but who knows?).  I imagine there will be a lot of rather clever parallels for the politics of the holocaust and the war, perhaps for the greater struggles of Zionism and the founding of the state, something Mr Oz has lived through as an adolescent I guess.

It's all good

- watch this space and I guess there may be an entry with my thoughts on "The Same Sea" and, maybe also, "Soumchi" and reading to / with my daughter.