תמונות מחיי הכפר / Tem...
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תמונות מחיי הכפר / Temunot me-ḥaye ha-kefar

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  561 ratings  ·  115 reviews
A portrait of a fictional village, by one of the world’s most admired writers

In the village of Tel Ilan, something is off kilter. An elderly man complains to his daughter that he hears the sound of digging under his house at night. Could it be his tenant, a young Arab? But then the tenant hears the mysterious digging sounds too. The mayor receives a note from his wife: "

Paperback, 217 pages
Published 2009 by Keter Books (first published December 7th 1998)
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Just as the title states, Scenes from Village Life, is neither a collection of stories nor a novel but eight stories which together make a portrait of the life of the century-old village, Tel Ilan. Oz's characters, whether male or female, adolescent, middle-aged or elderly, are so very real, nothing generic about them. His writing is always engaging, often surprising in its apt description and turn of phrase:

Her shoes grated on the gravel path as though they had picked up some tiny creature that...more
Mark Staniforth
It is for others with a surer grasp of the subject to decide the extent to which 'Scenes From Village Life' by Amos Oz is an allegory for the parlous, fragile state of modern Israel.
Certainly, there are broad hints in that direction: the characters who people the majority of Oz's eight stories live tentative, uncertain lives; Tel Ilan, their rural village in question, itself seems to exist in a state of perpetual unease.
Yet conflict of the political kind is only once overtly addressed, in 'Singi...more
This collection of short stories by Amos Oz is set in an apparently fictional historical village in Israel that has been populated by Jews for roughly a century. The characters in the first seven stories all know each other, and those who are the center of one story will often appear in a minor role in one or more other ones. The stories are about the lives of the characters within their families and community, and focus on the loneliness and barely hidden frustration and despair that plague eac...more
Eldred Buck
This compelling novel drew me in from the outset. Given the recent appalling events that are filling our screens from Gaza, I simply wanted to read about ordinary life in Israel, a place that I have myself lived, very happily, as a student many years ago. I was not disappointed.
The book is both harrowing and powerfully empathetic, taking the form of a series of touching and acutely observed vignettes, centered on quite disparate and lonely characters that are linked together by delightfully tenu...more
When I started Oz's latest, I thought, I would be so content to live in a small village in the north of Israel. Yet in these scenes everyone is unhappy, unhappy, but deeply aware of their connection to others, whether family members or acquaintances. A son will not leave his old mother, nor will a daughter leave her volcanic old father; a veterinarian makes unbidden house calls; a librarian weeps for not having been more sympathetic to an adolescent boy; an aunt waits for her beloved nephew. In...more
Tadzio Koelb
From my review in the Times Literary Supplement:

"Such strange moments invite a sharp awareness of the author and his choices. Stories which break with traditional realism – especially if they are open-ended – tend to ambiguity, meaning readers will be especially receptive to any perceived subtextual clues. Given the book’s setting, those they find will easily be understood as relating to the on-going crisis of the Middle East, although Oz, a vocal and energetic essayist who is not shy about voic...more
José-contemplates-Saturn's Aurora
This is a collection of stories of people in a small village called Tel Ilan, Israel. Stories, which stand on their own; with little interconnectedness.

As I was reading the book I got cozier and cozier, with this small village life. There was a climax, I would say, with fifty year olds (plus) gathering at a place for singing. But then the last “chapter” blew it all, because it’s no more in Tel Ilan: but in another time, and in another place.

But first some of the characters of Tel Ilan.

She was...more
Maybe I need to be more familar with life in Israel to understand these stories. Each one really grabbed my attention, but then left me flat. Hanging. These stories with no resolution made me frustrated.

I enjoyed the way Oz set the scene for each story. I read the opening paragraphs several times because I liked them so much. I enjoyed seeing the same characters in each of the stories. By the end of the book I felt like I knew this village. Still I was frustrated that the stories had no endings....more
Chris Yarsawich
This was my first book by Oz and definitely won't be my last. What I enjoyed most was the point in each story where the ordinary and fully believable melted away, revealing a bizarre and grotesque alternative reality underneath. The prose is squeaky clean, tight and clear as a winter night. His eye for detail is one of the best I've had the pleasure to see through in a long while. The unresolved tension and strange morphings are, on my first reading anyway, delightfully, chest-poundingly caught...more
Amos Oz’s Scenes from Village Life is a gem of a collection of inter-related short stories focused on the people who live in the Israeli village he calls Tel Ilan. These are simple, as is village life, and yet complex with inexplicable portents, happenings, mishaps, and conflicts beneath the surface of things.
One story, simply called “Digging” never gets into exactly what the residents of a certain house think they are hearing in the middle of the night, but it sounds like shovels and picks, a...more
K's Bognoter
Amos Oz’ novellesamling Scenes from Village Life er netop dét: Scener fra en landsby. Landsbyen er Tel Ilan, en fiktiv israelsk landsby nord for Tel Aviv, hvor tiden synes at være gået i stå eller ihvertfald går meget langsomt.

Landsbyen danner rammen om disse otte fine og foruroligende noveller, som er løst forbundne gennem personerne i landsbyen, hvor alle kender alle – og hovedpersonen i den ene novelle kan således optræde som marginal biperson i en anden. Når det kommer til stykket, viser det...more
Амос Оз е неповторим в обрисуването на делничните картини от живота в Израел. В тази книга чрез умело нахвърляни скици на отделни моменти от ежедневието на жителите на Тел Илан той създава усещане за скрито напрежение и безнадеждност. В привидно спокойното селце има някаква обреченост, защото няма развитие, няма перспектива. Искаше ми се книгата да е по-дълга, за да се насладя на майсторски преплетените съдби, представени както винаги с много човечност.
Kate S
My favorite of these stories was "Digging". It was possibly because it was the longest, but I also liked the mystery and feeling of suspense throughout. The hardships and the beauty in these stories were all the more obvious because of the brevity. This was my second book by Amos Oz and I will be searching my library for further titles.
Patrick Johns
I really enjoyed it - I thought it was a great book. I found the style very easy to read, Amos Oz's use of language is very pleasing, and from the first few pages I found myself wanting to read more. I found the characters delightfully drawn and I was very interested to know what happened, although in most cases we weren't told: lots of things were left unexplained or at least it was left up in the air for the reader to guess the outcome. I enjoyed that. I liked the structure of the book - sever...more
Kasey Jueds
Impossible to express how much I loved these stories, their quiet surfaces and murky depths. Wanting to read more Amos Oz, right now (really, I just need to quit my job so I can read all day long).
For me, this book is rather like modern art, it is less about what the author is trying to say and more about what the reader takes in and develops themselves. This by the way, is also a very strong message that Oz writes about in his autobiography, A Tale of Love and Darkness.
Being Israeli, I had the advantage of reading the book in the Hebrew original. Oz's use of Hebrew is masterful, a true delight and one of the principle reasons that I so enjoyed the read. It also helps to be able to identi...more
Simon Copland
Scenes from Village Life is a collection of short stories all based in the same village in Israel. Whilst Amos Oz is clearly an excellent writer and manages to tell eight intriguing stories, I struggled to get pulled in to this book. I find that with short stories a lot of heavy lifting needs to be done to draw instant connection with characters, something I did not feel in this book. Whilst many of the characters were interesting I did not feel connected to them, which I find essential for the...more
Each story in this collection contributes to an understanding of the small Israeli village whose inhabitants seem to be suffering from collective anxiety, seeking small enclosed spaces, reaching out unsuccessfully for new relationships or lamenting failed or lost ones. On the surface all seems to be normal - friends gather for traditional group singing, greet friends and go about their work in estate agents, schools, hospitals and post offices, but there is a constant disturbing undercurrent - p...more
Only Oz could create a Gothic atmosphere in a small Israeli town.
veronika's bookshelf
Having previously read "My Michael" by Amos Oz & having immensely enjoyed it, I was excited about indulging in "Scenes from Village Life". Even though a certain atmosphere was established through a certain warmness in the author's style, it was a generally a disappointing read.
This is a typical book which needs to be read in one sitting. I've had it on my "currently reading" list for about two months. I went back to the book ever now and then, starting over quite a few times, though there's...more
Amos Oz is one of my favorite authors. "Scenes from Village Life" is a series of stories about some of the people who currently live in an Israeli village that was founded long before the establishment of the State of Israel. The village has changed and is changing. Each story focuses on one or two persons and a crisis, sometimes an acted-out existential crisis, in their lives. I love Oz' neutral eye. He describes people, not heroes. Goodness or moral worth does not come into play directly. His...more
Scenes from Village Life is a collection of interlinked short stories by the acclaimed Israeli author Amos Oz, and the interesting aspect of the collection is that each of the tales is ‘unfinished’. When I read the first one, Heirs, I was not expecting this, but by the time I got to the third story, ‘Digging‘ I had anticipated the unresolved ending as part of a pattern. It alters the way one reads the stories. It’s more like real life, the unresolved ending, because none of us really knows what...more
Am highly inspired by the people in this book, Amos Oz- Dorpsleven

Dorpsleven van de Israelische schrijver Amos Oz sluit mooi aan op De veerboot. De bewoners in het dorpje Tel Ilan in het noorden van Israël zijn gewone mensen, lijkt het, maar zodra het verhaal zich ontvouwt duiken kleine obsessies en vervreemdingen op bij de personages. Zoals Arjee Tselnik in het verhaal Erfgenamen zijn dagen slijt met zijn oude dove moeder in het oudste en mooiste huis van de streek, todat een zonderlinge bezoek...more
Parrish Lantern
This is a book of fragments, there are seven tales and a coda in this book, and what you get are glimpses into the lives of the inhabitants of the fictional village of Tel Ilan, just a short bus hop from Tel Aviv. This is starting to become an issue as it’s distance and it’s beauty makes it an ideal setting for the smart set to move in with their money and chic boutiques, pricing out the locals. This is merely one of the backdrops to what is a strange and disturbing book, all the more so for be...more
Mooi boek met 8 verhalen over inwoners van het Israëlische stadje El Ilat. Het mooist aan dit boek vond ik hoe Oz bij ieder verhaal met een paar woorden een persoon zo neerzet dat je er meteen een beeld van hebt. Dat je weet wat het voor iemand is. En dit had ik toevallig erg gemist in de laatste paar titels die ik gelezen had….

Beschreven wordt het eigenlijk heel saaie doodgewone leven in het stadje, maar toch voel je in ieder verhaal een onrust en een onderhuidse spanning, bijvoorbeeld in het...more
Lakis Fourouklas
The international press hailed this book as a parable about what really goes on in Israeli society today.
Scenes from Village Life cannot be described as a novel nor as a short-story collection. It features a number of interconnected tales, which I would simply describe as short glimpses of everyday life.
The stories take place in the fictitious village of Tel Ilan, where lately a lot of strange things happen to some quite common people. Firstly, in Heirs, we have the story of a retired lawyer w...more
Susan Segal
This collection of very loosely connected short stories about life in one, probably fictitious Israeli village, was striking for Oz's hilarious and wonderful depictions of the characters: their foibles - both poignant and funny, often at the same time - their fears, their daily lives - was spot on. And each story ended on a very strange note. (I don't want to give too much away.) I felt I had to stop to think about the story in a new way at the end of each one. Unfortunately, the final story is...more
I bought this book after reading and very much enjoying a similar book by Oz called "Between Friends". It's a collection of short stories, all taking place in kibbutz in the 1950's. The setting of both books is the same: a small community, short hummane stories about people simply living their life, which small interaction and mentions of characters who travel between the different tells.

However, I could not finish this book. Maybe it's an age thing, but for me to read this high and pompous lan...more
A Spellbinding Collection of Short Stories on Israeli Life with Universal Appeal

One of the great writers of our time, Amos Oz explores the vicissitudes of life within a rural Israeli village in “Scenes from Village Life”, exploring universal themes of loneliness, fear, despair and love on an intimate stage that should resonate with readers around the globe. While he succeeds in exploring some of the difficult issues with regards to Israel’s right to exist and its uneasy co-existence with its Pal...more
I don't know what to make of these stories. They are very well written, but the lack of resolution is unsettling. In an interview, the author says that "these are unresolved stories because life is unresolved, and in a state of perpetual search is the human condition as I conceive it ... the stories are about the search, about the uncertainty of something that is hovering in the air, nearly there, nearly touchable but not quite there and not quite obtainable." He says that the last story is abou...more
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“He had the feeling that he must make a decision, and though he was used to making many decisions every day, this time he was beset with uncertainty; in fact he had no idea what was being asked of him” 5 likes
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