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תמונות מחיי הכפר / Temunot me-ḥaye ha-kefar

3.70  ·  Rating Details  ·  837 Ratings  ·  137 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 1998)
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Apr 05, 2016 Owlseyes rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: israeli-lit

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 (plus) year olds 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 wa
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
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
Eldred Buck
Jul 31, 2014 Eldred Buck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 08, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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
Nov 01, 2011 Darryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jun 01, 2015 Lidija rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Prekrasno! Oduševljena sam, gotovo sam progutala ovu knjigu, uživala sam u svakoj rečenici. Jedva čekam početi čitati sljedeću knjigu Amosa Oza, već danas.
Dec 11, 2011 Bookmaniac70 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
A big bunch of people, one worse than the other, all searching for something without quite knowing what it is.

But I think it's nice as a character study and interesting in it's anti-climactic plots. Can't say that I loved it like crazy, but it does make me want to read more of his books.

Not recommended for people who get bored easily and/or who prefer strong plots. Recommended for people who like interesting but not-nice characters.

Although I have to say, it oftentimes read as if Oz wrote this b
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.
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
Feb 26, 2014 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Maura Sostack
I so wanted to like this book, because I so appreciate Amos Oz. I get the metaphors: unfinished business; there are no neat and tidy endings; tenuous, off balance lives. But I just could not dig in. The characters did not draw me in, I could not relate and they all felt two-dimensional. For those who feel Oz can do no wrong, this book will not disappoint. But I was left wanting more.
Kate S
Sep 21, 2013 Kate S rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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
Jan 19, 2014 Patrick Johns rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alisa Zingerman
Feb 12, 2016 Alisa Zingerman rated it it was amazing
עוד ספר טוב מאת עמוס עז! הפסיפס של הדמויות השונות של תושבי הכפר תל אילן נרקם לכדי תמונה אחת, תמונה כה מוכרת ובו בזמן ייחודית. עד עכשיו קראתי רק את הספר היותר מוקדם שלו, את ה"הקופסה השחורה" שאהבתי, יותר מסתם אהבתי, אימצתי לתיבת האוצרות הספרותיות שלי, כאשר בספר הזה עמוס עוז מרגיש אף יותר בשל ומנוסה כסופר, יותר רומז, בונה אווירה, ווירטואוזי, אך... איטי למדי. פחות דינמי. אלוי כי פשוט ככה הם חיים הכפר - זורמים הם לאיטם, נפגשים ונפרדים, מכירים אחד את השני ואת עצמם - או רק לכאורה? הסוף היה תמוה ביותר א ...more
An odd book, masquerading as a very ordinary book. In the end, I really wanted a little more odd and a little less mundane. This is a linked short story collection but with only minor overlap between characters - the names appear in other stories but little else. Otherwise the central link is that the stories are all set in the fictional Israeli village of Tel Ilan. Some reviews describe the stories as parables of modern Israeli life. That seems a bit of a stretch, although there are many refere ...more
Kasey Jueds
Feb 22, 2013 Kasey Jueds rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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).
Jan 04, 2014 Aronz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Megan Geissler
Interesting stories and quick read but there were some issues that were irritating. Sorry, Amos. I'll try another work but this didn't win me over. The connections between the tales is a unique element but sometimes the common themes were repetitive. The character development is strong and I appreciated the quirks and imperfections he attributed to each of them. The creepiness of a few of them was quite tangible. Like other reviews I have read, I felt the last chapter was out of place and didn't ...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
May 11, 2014 Romily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
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
Dec 04, 2011 Michale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tribe
Only Oz could create a Gothic atmosphere in a small Israeli town.
matthew mcdonald
Jan 16, 2016 matthew mcdonald rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like Winesburg, Ohio, but set in a village in Israel.

The people in the stories are not _as_ lonely and frustrated as the people in Winesburg.

The stories span multiple chapters, and all end just as something interesting is about to happen.

The people all seem pretty real.

I assume the author is making a point about life in Israel that might be clear to an Israeli reader, but is pretty opaque to me. The last story is odd and different to all the others. I don't know what it was about.

I'd have said 5
Mar 10, 2015 Brent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written. Lyrical. Melancholic. Several interwoven but separate stories in a mythical Israeli town. My problem is that several of the stories end on an odd note with no resolution. What is the digging under the house? Why does the stranger get in bed with them? Why does one storyteller look under the bed in a private bedroom? I'm sure it all means something, but I'm just not insightful enough to figure out what.

That and an ending that makes no sense in this context whatsoever. What is
Кремена Михайлова
След “Между приятели” исках още нещо подобно – почти отделни разкази, които биха загубили от дълбочината си, ако се разглеждат като самостоятелни. Защото свързващо и в двата случая е мястото.

Очаквах, че „Сцени от живота на село“ ще е по-ведра в сравнение с „Между приятели“. Все пак във втората се разказва за кибуц, където има много ограничения и правила. А тук е „свободно“ село. Но настроението, което усетих, може да се обобщи с думата „сумрак“. И една особена тишина, забуленост, застоял въздух;
K's Bognoter
Jan 21, 2015 K's Bognoter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 27, 2012 Lawrence rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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” 6 likes
“You can see right away,’ the old man said, ‘that he hates us but hides his hatred under a layer of sycophancy. They all hate us. How could they not? If I were them I’d hate us too. In fact, I’d hate us even without being them. Take it from me, Rachel, if you just look at us you can see that we deserve nothing but hatred and contempt. And maybe a bit of pity. But that pity cannot come from the Arabs. They themselves need all the pity in the world.” 0 likes
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