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To Know a Woman

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  1,094 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

“[To Know a Woman has] the powerful undertow of myth . . . A rich and affecting novel.” — New York Times

Following the accidental death of his wife, Israeli secret service agent Yoel Ravid retires to the suburbs with his daughter, mother, and mother-in-law. After a lifetime of uncovering other people’s secrets, he is forced to look b
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 27th 1992 by Mariner Books (first published 1989)
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Какво се случва с живота ти, след като изгубиш скъп човек; как да събереш частиците отново; как да бъдеши сигурен, че не си виновен или отговорен - въпроси, от чиито отговори толкова много се нуждая в момента. Но Амос Оз не ги поднася, той ни дава пример, а всички изводи - логични или не, следва сами да направим.
Не за първи път се сблъсквам с изключителната му убедителност, когато описва изстинали в емоциите си семейства. Неговите персонажи не приличат на никои други, които съм срещала - те са м
Jun 22, 2009 Ferret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jewish
Telling the story of a retired Mossad agent coming to terms with the sacrifices he made for his career and his family in the wake of his wife's death, it is a challenging book of startling clarity.

Its primary theme, as the title suggests, is knowledge. The protagonist, as a spy, has spent his life wrapped up in a quest for certain kinds of knowledge. He is an expert at evaluating the value of a piece of knowledge. And again and again, when he receives a new piece, the book repeats the same line
Кремена Михайлова
Когато четох „Познание за жена“ за първи път, не ме впечатли много. Сега се върнах към нея, след като съм прочела почти всички преведени произведения на Амос Оз. Рядко препрочитам книги и този път четенето беше интересно – предварително уж не зная какво ще се случва/описва, но като започне даден момент, потъналите в паметта подробности изплуват.

Още в началото познах „моя“ Амос Оз - представя персонаж, който с външното си описание може да отблъсне читателя („дебел отпуснат мъж“, „размъкнати пант
Jul 09, 2009 Xhevat rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I expected much more from this book. I don't think it has much to do with knowing a woman. its more like the life of a man after his wife's death.

the writing was good.

Trama: zero

"Conoscere una donna" è un libro molto bello.

Lo dico ora però, dopo averlo terminato. Durante la lettura invece ho tentato due volte di buttarlo nel fuoco, una volta dalla finestra, tre nel gabinetto e 5 nella pentola a pressione.

Il libro è la lentissima (quasi statica) costruzione da parte dell'autore del profilo psicologico (mooooolto complesso) di Yoel, il protagonista maschile, rimasto vedovo.

La storia tra Yoel e Ivra è narrata tramite i particolari della loro vita insieme e le pa
Sally Boots
Dec 04, 2011 Sally Boots rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To Know a Woman: After the sudden death of his wife, Yoel moves slowly through the world in a disoriented fog. He obsessively microanalyses the details and events in his life and tries to make sense of the women who surround him. This book is exquisitely written. It's a great choice if you’re in the mood for beautiful, meditative descriptions and gentle plot development. The conversations between Yoel and his kvetchy mother and mother-in-law (both of whom have moved in with him) cracked me up. I ...more
Apr 07, 2017 Hermien rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jewish, middle-east
Nothing very exciting happens but I loved the feel of the story. Reminded me of AB Yehoshua's writing (or maybe it's the other way around and this book came first).
Feb 20, 2017 Draganka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ето на това му казвам: перфектно написана книга! Отдавна не се бях впечатлявала от някой автор така. Първи досег с Амос Оз, със сигурност няма да бъде и последен.

Човек, който цял живот е разгадавал тайни професионално, не знае за и не познава собственото си семейство. Сетивата ти, може би, са притъпени, когато става въпрос за някого, когото обичаш. Съпругата ти, майка ти, дъщеря ти. На моменти в книгата се повтарят цели абзаци, но някак на място. Действието е изпълнено с тайнственост и напрежен
I liked the style,especially some of the descriptions but the story lacked imagination and was politically overloaded. The ending was quite naive and simple- the main character went to work as a volunteer in a hospital,to "redeem" his "sins".Anyway,I would give this writer a second chance.I would like to try "A Tale of Love and Darkness". Let`s hope he has been more sincere in its writing. ...more
Thomas Wilder
Mar 11, 2014 Thomas Wilder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Într-un interviu din 2004 acordat Antoanetei Ralian, Amos Oz susținea că „singurătatea e o opţiune şi nu un destin” (România literară nr. 39/ 2004). Oricum ar fi, singurătatea este o stare problematică, un timp al reevaluării, al reconsiderărilor. Personajele lui Amos Oz sunt supuse (sau – altfel spus – se supun) deseori acestui test, din care cauză prozele acestuia propun mai degrabă povești retrospective, trecute prin filtrul sufletesc al personajelor. Nu altfel stau lucrurile și în romanul di ...more
Elizabeth  Fuller
Overall, I thought this book was pretty dull. It belongs to a small sub-genre of books that our book club seems to hit on occasionally, which I would call "books about morose (often Jewish) middle age (or older) men trying to make sense of their lives." Others in the book club seem to like them, but I rarely maybe it's just me. I find the characters mostly unlikeable, the overall mood very blah and the stories pretty plot-less, and this one was no exception. (Others books I'd put in ...more
May 13, 2017 Mirela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2,5 p
Robert Wechsler
Jun 16, 2013 Robert Wechsler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: israeli-lit
For the first half, I thought it was a truly great novel. But the second half did not live up to the first. One problem was Oz’s use of repetition. I love repetition when it provides either a rhythm to the work or it makes the content of what is repeated more resonant as the novel progresses (or both, if possible, as in the works of Vladimír Páral). The problem with Oz’s repetition is that it didn’t do either, at least not for me.

Two, it’s very hard to sustain a story about someone who has retir
Jun 19, 2016 Calzean rated it liked it
This book was beautifully written but seemed to have struggled to find a reason for its existence - like its main character.
Yoel retires from Mossad after his wife dies. Yoel is a watcher and observer. His duty to his country has ruined his relationship with his family. He retires to live with his mother, mother-in-law and daughter. He fills his days in gardening and being a handy man. His is not overly fulfilled, lacks the ability to express himself and is hard on himself for his past errors. H
Silvena Chorbadzhiyska
"Нямаше нови начала, а само едно продължително раждане. Но раждането е раздяла и раздялата винаги е болезнена, а и кой e способен да се разделя постоянно? Родителите те раждат години наред и ти самият започваш да раждаш още преди да си се родил, и така се оказваш приклещен и от двете страни в битката за свободата си."

".. С надежда отново да го сполети един от онези редки, изненадващи моменти, когато мракът се вдига за миг и изведнъж нещо просветва, припламва едва забележима искрица, за която чов
Alexander Struk
Like many of Amos Oz's other novels, To Know A Woman was meditative, beautifully written, and full of eclectic and well crafted characters. I enjoyed it, but ultimately found it less satisfying than most of his other books. For me, I felt like the balance between character development and plot was weighted too much towards character which sapped the novel of some of the energy and movement it could have had. For someone who is just exploring Amos Oz for the first time, I would probably recommend ...more
I kept thinking, what is this book about, really? Why are things repeated over and over? The premise turned out to be more interesting than the story, probably much due to the slow pace and cyclical storytelling. But it was lovely to be back in Israel! And towards the end, it did feel like the book had managed to deal with the themes of loss and change, aging etc quite well, without me even noticing.
When I read the summary of this book I thought it was going to be a certain type of book: emotionally detached man estranged from wife, absent with daughter, mid-life crisis drives him to drinking/affairs/crisis, etc...blah blah blah. But the books is so much more than that and so absolutely mesmerizing.

The writing is fantastic.
Lauren Albert
Feb 15, 2010 Lauren Albert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Ravid, retired early from the Israeli secret service, has developed a remarkable ability to tell truth from lie. Yet he doesn't seem to understand the people around him or for that matter himself. Compulsively analytic, feelings are a more difficult puzzle for him.
Răzvan Rocaș
Oct 09, 2015 Răzvan Rocaș rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un roman impersonal, distant. Cu toate că pare să fie scris într-un episod de confuzie totală, are o putere de atracţie incredibilă. Acţiunea cărţii nu promite nimic spectaculos în capitolele sale, dar o anumită vrajă ascunsă te ţine prins între coperţile ei.
Aug 12, 2016 Rita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Matig interessant, errug gedetailleerd en geen enkele humor, een trein die maar niet op gang kwam en nergens naar toe ging. Wel een mooie persoonlijkheid die man. Maar het slot was ook weer suffig.
Cynthia Maltbie
He's certainly not Virginia Woolf, but I did find it mezmerizing, and it made me want to reread Mrs Dalloway.
May 17, 2009 Theresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This novel is about difficulties and confusions of relationships, the making of a person, in which there are no guarantees.
Mar 02, 2017 Patyta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Esteban Alonso Ramírez
Una premisa interesante, un desarrollo algo lento pero con bellos momentos, un desenlace más bien simplón para todo lo planteado. Quedo con ganas de leer más del autor, pero creo que no empecé por el punto correcto.
Aug 15, 2016 Petra rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Amoz Oz verteld in Een vrouw kennen het verhaal over Joël, een soort van spion en zijn worstelingen in zijn leven. Of misschien verteld het wel gewoon over het leven van Joël een man die een binnenvetter lijkt te zijn en van veel dingen de schuld lijkt te krijgen. Of misschien gaat het eigenlijk over de relatie tussen een vader en een dochter als de moeder komt te overlijden? Halverwege het boek vroeg ik me nog steeds af waar het uberhaubt over ging, maar ook waar dit verhaal naar toe zou kunnen ...more
Jay Daze
Apr 21, 2009 Jay Daze rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yoel is a shadowy governmental arms dealer (a spy?) at the beginning of the novel when his wife dies, electrocuted by accident in the arms of a neighbour. Was it an accident? Were his wife and the neighbour lovers, or did he just come upon the scene and get zapped himself? Yoel's powers of observation are so finely tuned, so sensitive to every nuance but the harder he looks the more everything falls apart. Yet at the same time Oz has created a character blind to everything important in his life, ...more
Mar 06, 2007 lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
like most oz novels, i began it saying 'this is not as good as the last i read, not as compelling.' yet, the last third made this book well worth reading for all the reasons that i like oz. the main character's search for meaning in life absolutely captivated me. my favorite jewel of text:
And so Yoel Ravid began to give in. Since he was capable of observing, he grew fond of observing in silence. With tired but open eyes. Into the depth of the darkness. And if it was necessary to focus the gaze a
Natalia Stancheva
Sep 30, 2014 Natalia Stancheva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Преди няколко години по време на нощен полет до Кейптаун Йоел бе прочел една статия в „Нюзуик” за телепатичната връзка между еднояйчните близнаци. Единият близнак звъни на другия в три часа през нощта и знае, че брат му е буден и го чака. Единият се изгаря, а другия на стотици километри от него, потръпва от болка.
Между тях с Иврия беше почти същото. Така тълкуваше той думите на Писанието: „И мъжът позна жена си”. Връзката между тях бе познание."


"Бил чувал, че на езика урду имало дума, която
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Amos Oz or 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 P ...more
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“In a short story by Chekhov or a novel by Balzac he found mysteries which, so far as he was aware, did not exist in any spy thriller. 35” 6 likes
“Sometimes Yoel had the feeling that it was not his sexual organ but his whole being that was penetrating and luxuriating inside her womb. That he was entirety wrapped up and quivering inside her. Until with each caress the difference between caresser and caressed vanished, as though they had ceased being a man and a woman making love and had become one flesh.” 1 likes
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