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My Michael by Amos Oz
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My Michael (1968)

by Amos Oz

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 61 mentions

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מזמן ואולי מעולם לא התרגשתי כל כך מספר. החלטתי לקרוא אותו (שנית? כנראה שלא) בעקבות מותו של עמוס עוז וקראתי אותו בשקיקה. ספר עצוב מאוד, מורבידי מאוד, נושא טרגדיה, אפרוריות ואבל. דמות אשה של תישכח. ציור של תקופה שרבים כבר אינם זוכרים ובי היא חרותה כמו היום. יציאה אמיתית. ( )
  amoskovacs | Jan 8, 2019 |
Oz's gentle, easily recognizable prose style is beyond comparison to any other contemporary Israeli writer I have read. This book was a discovery for me. ( )
  alik-fuchs | Apr 27, 2018 |
55. My Michael by Amos Oz (1968, 289 page Paperback, read Aug 13-19)
translated from Hebrew by [[Nicholas De Lange]] in 1970

Amos Oz's first book. The opening 50 pages are brilliant. Just dreamy wonderful perfect prose (in translation) of Hannah telling us about her history with Michael, her husband, "a geologist, a good-natured man. I loved him.". I had read them earlier this year when I was sick, then I got better and stopped there. Re-reading them recently, I think what stopped me is that the dreamy prose started to feel like work. The book really slows down afterword. Maybe I was just waiting for somethings to happen that never actually happened.

Oz seems to be working on several different themes. One is a delicate exploration of personalities, and the disconnect between Michael and Hannah that is misunderstood by both. But also Hannah begins studying Hebrew literature and Michael is a geologist and Oz explores the disconnect between science, which is seen to progress and to promise practical rewards, and art which arguably doesn't make progress or contribute to development, but looks at the world in different kinds of ways. Art was a maybe a bit out of place or neglected in the at-the-time struggling 1950's Israel. Hannah has problems with what is missing in her life and has trouble as her mindset gets farther and farther from the more practical mindsets of those around her. ( )
  dchaikin | Aug 22, 2015 |
Het relaas van de ongelukkige liefde tussen een jonge dromerige vrouw en haar ingoede maar fantasieloze man geprojecteerd tegen een achtergrond van escalerende politieke spanningen tussen het jonge Israël en zijn Arabische buren. Indrukwekkende karaktertekening en weergaloos beeldend taalgebruik. ( )
  joucy | Apr 16, 2012 |
I liked the writing and character portrayal in this book that takes place right after Israel became a state. Oz seems to have excellent insight in to the mind of a woman with a brain disorder. Her attempt at control may be a metaphor for Israel, or it may be a representation of his mother, who I believe had a brain disorder. Parts of the book were tedious, and it could have been shortened, but most was interesting. I remember liking other books of Oz's better. ( )
  suesbooks | Mar 8, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
In his introduction to this new edition of My Michael, written more than 40 years after the book's original appearence, Amos Oz describes how Hannah, his intelligent, bored and increasingly unstable narrator, would "dictate" the words that make up her story to him as he sat in the cramped lavatory of his kibbutz home, writing late into the night.

Hannah tells of how she met Michael, an unassuming geology student who becomes her husband, and of their life in Jerusalem in the 50s. They are both young – too young – and are not emotionally prepared for marriage. Limited financially, lonely and uninterested in her immediate world, Hannah is forced to abandon her study of literature while Michael goes on, in his prosaic way, to become a university lecturer and to fight in the Arab-Israeli war.

It is not, perhaps, a book to read for its plot. What stands out, rather, is Oz's strident lyricism as Hannah's bipolar tendencies take her in and out of feverish fantasies about a pair of twins she knew in her youth. In her imaginings, the three of them are warriors against an unnamed enemy, playing violently in the desert and the sea. These passages are tucked in among descriptions of mundane reality, which Oz vividly conveys.
 
"My Michael" is anything but a provincial achievement; it has nothing to do with noble kibbutzim, Sten guns and sabras, nor with the Talmudic dryness of Israel's Nobel Prize-winner, the late S. Y. Agnon. It's quite the last kind of book one expects from a young writer living in the midst of a melodramatic political situation, for "My Michael" is an extremely self-conscious and serious psychological novel, slow, thoughtful, self-assured and highly sophisticated, full of the most skillful modulations of tone and texture. On the surface it is very much what used to be called a "women's novel"--the story of a disintegrating marriage told from the unhappy wife's point of view. In a way it's a modern Israeli "Madame Bovary," a finely wrought portrait of a woman that is also a critique of a superficial "masculine" society. But unlike Emma Bovary, the heroine doesn't flee to romantic infidelity but to schizophrenic inner depths.

The political implications are not hard to unravel: Amos Oz is suggesting that in her heart Israel is going mad dreaming of Arabs, while on the surface emotionally stunted "new Israelis" are going about their nation's business cut off from self and history. It's hardly surprising that the book caused controversy and was a best seller in Israel.

For American readers, though, "My Michael" is distinguished by its warmth, its lyricism and remarkable technical control, its fluent pattern of repetitions--threads of words and associations that weave and interweave a vast underwater net. In this Mr. Oz resembles such young American writers as William H. Gass and Joseph McElroy. Intelligent, heartfelt, perhaps a bit too small and self-enclosed, "My Michael" is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished foreign novels to appear here in the last few years; it is a most impressive American debut for Amos Oz.
added by kidzdoc | editNew York Times, Richard Locke (May 25, 1972)
 

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Oz, Amosprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
De Lange, NicholasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tijn, M. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156031604, Paperback)

One of Amos Oz's earliest and most famous novels, My Michael created a sensation upon its initial publication in 1968 and established Oz as a writer of international acclaim. Like all great books, it has an enduring power to surprise and mesmerize.

Set in 1950s Jerusalem, My Michael tells the story of a remote and intense woman named Hannah Gonen and her marriage to a decent but unremarkable man named Michael. As the years pass and Hannah's tempestuous fantasy life encroaches upon reality, she feels increasingly estranged from him and the marriage gradually disintegrates.

Gorgeously written and profoundly moving, this extraordinary novel is at once a haunting love story and a rich, reflective portrait of place.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:33 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Set in 1950s Jerusalem, My Michael tells the story of a remote and intense woman named Hannah Gonen and her marriage to a decent but unremarkable man named Michael. As the years pass and Hannah's tempestuous fantasy life encroaches upon reality, she feels increasingly estranged from him and the marriage gradually disintegrates. This novel is at once a haunting love story and a reflective portrait of place."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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