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Black Box

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3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,681 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
A powerful and tragicomic blend of politics and personal destiny, Black Box records in a series of letters the wrecked marriage of Ilana and Alex. Seven years of silence following their bitter divorce is broken when Ilana writes to Alex for help over their wayward and illiterate son, Boaz, and old emotional scars are reopened.

By the winner of the 2013 Franz Kafka Prize, pr
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Kindle Edition, 274 pages
Published (first published 1986)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Michael Scott
Jul 28, 2009 Michael Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favs, fiction
Like much of Amos Oz's work, Black Box is not about the story. Indeed, the book is built around the premise that unresolved childhood trauma brings disaster to all the people around when the child grows up, but in truth the book is all about people: dysfunctional people who hit, scream, beg, and blackmail, get divorced or separated, and still try to reunite with each other. As sides, the epistolary style of the book engages the reader in mind games (will I turn the pages and see who wrote this? ...more
Lavinia
Before starting to read this book, I read some (very few) comments on it. Most of them talked about a love story and about humor... Maybe it's me, but I didn't find anything funny in this book. And I would hardly call it a "love story". I would rather say it's a book about death and violence. A sad book about death and violence. It only gets 3 stars from me because I found the beginning tiresome and naive, full of clichés and superficial. I found the end quite exquisite, though boring sometimes. ...more
Antonio
Apr 21, 2016 Antonio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Amos Oz transports us to a land full of sorrows, consequence of a failed marriage. In this place, created in his brilliantly written epistolary style, we face bitterness, disappointments, humiliations and even some cruelty engendered by words.
In this apparently dry landscape, however, the author also presents us with understanding, compassion, and, above all, some remaining love, even after the painful divorce, even after whatever life has brought.
An amazing piece of work of Amos Oz highly rec
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Кремена Михайлова
Този роман не ме стопли чак толкова като другите книги на Оз. Сигурно заради разправиите и претенциите между героите. Но все пак накрая Оз успява да накара читателя да притихне и резултатът е същият – отново среща с хора от сякаш реални семейства. Ако романът не беше в епистоларна форма, можеше и да ми дотегнат словесните престрелки между различните герои. Но писмата осветяват по специфичен начин сърцевината на проблемите.

Началото изглежда като ситуация, в която може да се изпитват симпатии към
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Alina
Nov 06, 2015 Alina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even if my rating is not very high, I think it was a book worth reading.
Written as an array of letters offering different perspectives on the events, it slowly unfolds its layers of plot and reveals the nature of the characters.
Helena (Renchi King)
"Crna Kutija" je roman pisan u formi pisama.Bivši supružnici na relaciji Izrael-USA,potaknuti određenim problemom njihova zajedničkog djeteta (tinejđera Boaza)ponovo uspostavljaju kontakt pismima.Njihov brak završio je na vrlo ružan način,optužbama i izbacivanjem obitelji na ulicu ,pa su i pisma,koja pišu jedno drugome,"začinjena" optužbama,zlobom,strasti i neskrivenim divljenjem.
Bivša supruga, Ilana,ima novi život,novog supruga i kćer.I njezin novi suprug Michael se pridružuje dopisivanju ! (nj
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Misty
Sep 11, 2007 Misty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A heartcrushing family drama unfolds through letters. This book makes me want to buy a set of waterman stationery, and start a correspondence with friends, enemies and ex-lovers.
Natalie
Jul 21, 2015 Natalie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
Interesantni stil pisanja. :)
Jen
I picked up this book with little enthusiasm. Based on the summary, I was convinced that I would not care for it. The GoodReads summary was as follows, “examines the lives of a contemporary Israeli couple whose marriage has ended in disaster.” My initial reaction was “that sounds boring and depressing.” Boy, was I wrong (about the boring part, it is not exactly uplifting). I loved this book.

The Black Box is an epistolary novel told through a series of letters, memos, notes between a formerly ma
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Realini
Black Box by Amos Oz

I keep hearing about Amos Oz and the Nobel that he is expected to get, for some years now. It seems a sure bet to say that he will. He has the necessary good work and the political favor that this prize involves.
I see on goodreads that a few of my friends have rated Black Box with a maximum of five stars. I will not do the same, although I still have to make up my mind, by the end of these lines how much shall I put.
I could appreciate it as a good book, although not great fr
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Espiral
May 06, 2015 Espiral rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este senhor escreve muito muito bem
Arthur Hessel
This is a novel in letters, a firm which, when well written, allows for multiple points of view to be presented. And multiple points of,view are helpful when you are dealing with a woman, married to her second husband, who begins a correspondence with her first, from whom she has been estranged since their messy divorce. The story line, and the characters, though, are a little overwritten, and some of the letters would have required 40 or 50 handwritten pages, but it is all saved by Oz' masterfu ...more
Marc
The fun thing about a novel of letters is that it automatically introduces a very dynamic element in the story: through the different perspectives (of the writers of the letters) the information is released very gradually, consequentely the reader can only get the full picture after a while, if ever.
That is also the case in this book, with as a bonus the fact that it is about a marriage gone wrong; so through the letters you can reconstruct what went wrong, as in the black box after a plane acci
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Regina Lindsey
The Black Box by Amos Oz
4 Stars

This is purely and simply a brilliant character study of four people told through a series letters between Ilana, the twice married Israeli mother of Boaz, Alex, Ilana's first husband and biological father to Boaz who now lives in America, Michel, Ilana's first husband, Boaz, Zakheim, Alex's attorney, and Rahel, Ilana's sister. Ilana and Alex's marriage was a difficult one full of abuse and infidelity. Alex abandoned Ilana and Boaz and no communicated took place be
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Patty
Dec 17, 2010 Patty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
E' stata una gran bella lettura questo romanzo epistolare di Amos Oz.
L'epistolario fra Alec e Ilana dopo 7 anni di assoluto silenzio in seguito a un divorzio conflittuale, rileva una forte ambivalenza di sentimenti, un intreccio di amore e odio, di passioni non del tutto assopite.
E'un gioco di specchi, un caleidoscopio di vissuto, di realtà e individuali. Non c'è mai del resto una verità sola e assoluta, ma diversi punti di vista della stessa.
La scatola nera è anche uno sguardo acuto sul confli
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vanya klecherova
някъде по пътя леко занижава летвата

„черната кутия”, амос оз

романът е добър като изпълнение, направа, език.
спокойно би завладял масовия вкус -
от първата си страница, та до самия край.

фатална жена, интрига, политика (и финансова такава),
два светогледа - фанатично-религиозен
и атеистично-скептично-притихнал,
няколко начина на живот - в кибуц,
хипаро-комунален, в самоналожено изгнание,
много страст, спомени и едни особено докосващи
брътвежи на лудия дядо/баща/свекър,
хладни и много точни бележки от н
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S©aP
Romanzo austero e intenso; a tratti duro. Che non si licenzia in una parola. Due i sapori principali. A) Un pragmatismo forte, "di razza". A volte sano e illuminante, diciamo pure salvifico in certe ore buie della vita; altre volte cinico ed esasperato, faticoso a digerirsi. L'esistenza difficile in una terra minata dalle contraddizioni (Israele) è bene dipinta da un essudato continuo di ansietà latente, che vena ogni riflessione. B) Quando la vita è dura, i sentimenti restano angoli di intimità ...more
Lena
Mar 05, 2015 Lena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unforgettable and intense

A powerful book with unforgettable remarkable characters that are very well built in their flaws as much as in their strength. It is amazing how the author makes such a gripping a book in which we only get to know the relationship between the characters through letters they write to each other. We see love, hatred, passion, good deeds, evilness, hope, despair and there are no villains or good guys. A touching and involving story written by an exceptionally talented write
...more
Patricia
Sep 02, 2015 Patricia marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Patricia by: Ludmila Ravazi
Shelves: did-not-like, 2015
There's nothing that annoys me more than having to give up on a book, especially when it comes recommended by someone who knows me very well, but I'm halfway through and I've had enough! I HATED Black Box.
The story is told as a collection of letters, notes, telegrams, etc which illustrate the relationships between all the characters. I despised every one of them, a lot of the letters seemed way too contrived - therefore, implausible - and so the book failed miserably in keeping my interest.
As I
...more
Daniel Chaikin
Nov 23, 2013 Daniel Chaikin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having been in some kind of weird state of mind lately, I haven't been reading much. This is the first normal book I've read in a while, and it took awhile, with gaps of time in between. An epistolary novel, it first took me some time get into it, and then, once I did get involved, it just seemed to get so intense - mind you this was partly my state of mind. But this is a complex work. The variety of issues within Israel it brings in - the fanatical and irreverent views on religious and their po ...more
Daniel DiStefano
An interesting read with occasional flashes of Oz's brilliant prose, but ultimately, the book can't sustain the weight of its own conceit. The form, an epistolary novel, feels inauthentic at times, characters spending pages upon pages of their letters in scenes, which seems to propel the novel's action, but ultimately give up on the novel's intended form. I wanted to love this book, and I'm happy with just liking it, but I'm left wanting more from the idea of it.
Islam
Apr 22, 2015 Islam marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition

"But you, you knew the night is still and silent,
And I alone remain alert and brood.
I am the only victim of your weeping:
The beast has fixed his eyes on me to be his only food.

At times I shudder suddenly and tremble,
I wander, lost, and panic drives me wild:
I hear you calling me from all directions,
I feel like a blind man being tormented by a child.

But you, you hid your face. You did not stop me,
With pigeon's blood and darkness in your tears,
Entangled in the dark, remotely sobbing,
Where memory o
...more
Becky
Dec 30, 2014 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved, loved, loved the format of this novel. It is told entirely in letters and telegrams between the central and peripheral characters, and indirectly illuminates marriage in a way I've never seen. Ilana used to be married to Alex Gideon, a rather tough academic now residing in Chicago. Together they had a son, Boaz, and it is his wayward ways that reignite their lines of communication. But there's a complicating factor - Ilana has a new husband, who couldn't be more different from Alex. Som ...more
Jennifer
Jul 19, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this a long time ago, but I remember being really engaged with the story as it unfolds in letters from various people. The characters are extremely different, one from another, which makes them memorable and their interactions interesting. Characters' qualities and relationships work on another level, of course: the divisions within a family and the refusal of individuals to compromise are parallels for Israeli life ... or vice versa.
Adrian
Sep 18, 2014 Adrian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best works that I've read this year, Mr. Oz presents three life-stories involved in a love triangle. A woman, her former husband and the current one-a situation that is not exactly pleasant, but leaves room for no other scenario.
I loved thee way the letters and telegrams were written, each of them being the produce of a distinct psychological universe. I love the fact that Boaz, the son of Alexander and Ilana, had a somwhat hippie life philosphy that always seemed immature and immora
...more
Weaverannie
Dec 04, 2015 Weaverannie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Het is moeilijk te omschrijven, wat ik van dit boek vond. In elk geval hield het me zeer bezig.
De briefwisseling tussen de hoofdpersonen maakt duidelijk, wat er mis gegaan is tussen hen, net zoals de black box in een vliegtuig aangeeft, waardoor een ongeluk kon gebeuren.
Ilona en Alexander zijn getrouwd, maar vechten elkaar het huis uit. Het huwelijk draait uit op een scheiding. Ilona hertrouwt. Michel is de tegenpool van Alexander: rustig, zorgzaam, maar ook zeer overtuigd van zijn eigen goedhe
...more
Angela
Jul 28, 2007 Angela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A dramatic love story, written in an excellent manner, in which the characters torture themselves in the name of love. At a certain point, you can't be sure if love and hate are different notions. Although they are divorced, Alex and Ilana can't go on with their new lives..the past keeps them captives and the strength of their feelings bursts in every letter they send one another..
Bookmaniac70
May 05, 2011 Bookmaniac70 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Мисля, че след "История за мрак и любов" този роман на Амос Оз ми допада най-много. Чрез една семейна история, разкрита в поредица от писма,той успява да предаде много по-широк поглед върху еврейското общество в Израел през 70-те години. По нещо ми напомни на "Моят Михаел", но е някак по-мащабна. Женските образи определено са силна страна на таланта на писателя.
HannaSchygulla
Uno splendido romanzo epistolare in cui alle passioni e alle anime del mondo israeliano - dal socialismo al sionismo al revisionismo religioso - si alternano le passioni dell'animo umano. Odio e amore hanno una radice comune e confini incerti, che le lettere tra Alec e Ilana, divorziati da anni, ricostruiscono a poco a poco, “Come dopo un incidente aereo, ci siamo messi a decifrare, per corrispondenza, il contenuto della scatola nera”. C'è il ricordo della felicità, “non c'è una felicità che ass ...more
Gláucia Renata
Dec 05, 2013 Gláucia Renata rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A narrativa é epistolar, ou seja, vai se desenvolvendo através de cartas trocadas entre os personagens e nessas epístolas vai sendo destilada toda mágoa acumulada ao longo do tempo. Há muita crueldade nos protagonistas, faz lembrar Cathy e Heatcliff do Morro dos Ventos Uivantes.
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Amos Oz (עמוס עוז) is an Israeli writer, novelist, and journalist. He is also a professor of literature at Ben-Gurion University in Be'er Sheva. Since 1967, he has been a prominent advocate of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2008 he received an Honorary Degree from the University of Antwerp. He also received the Dan David prize in 2008 for "Creative Rendering of the Pa ...more
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“Faith, coming from the lack of faith: as much as the faith in oneself is demolished, as much the intoxicating faith in the salvation becomes strong and the desperate need to be save grows. The savior is that much great, as you’re small, insignificant and unworthy. Anri Begrson writes: “It’s not true that faith can move mountains. On the contrary, the main thing in faith is the ability not to notice anything, even the moving of the mountain in front of you. It’s like a hermetic screen, fully impregnable to the facts.” 5 likes
“Η εγκληματικότητα και η αυτοθυσία είναι οι δύο πλευρές του ίδιου νομισματος. Η καταδυνάστευση όπως ο αλτρουισμός, η βιαιότητα όπως η αυτοθυσία, η καταπίεση του πλησίον όπως η καταπίεση του εαυτού μας, η σωτηρία της ψυχής αυτών που διαφέρουν από σένα όπως και η εξολόθρευση αυτών που διαφέρουν απο σένα: δεν πρόκειται για ζευγη αντιθέτων αλλά για διαφορετικές εκφράσεις της ανθρώπινης κενότητας και αναξιότητας.” 3 likes
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