Amos Oz was a fantastic writer and I have yet only read a couple of works by him, including but not limited to: Judas, My Michael and obviously our current topic of discussion: Scenes of Village Life. One thing I have always loved about his writing style is its flow. The style is always very fluent that even when the most intense emotion is taking place, it never feels out of place. It feels like this is just the way it is supposed to happen. This is also true of this book Scenes of Village Life in which the stories have no beginning and no end. Yet, every story has its own personality. Personally, I think that this is probably the best Amos Oz book I have read to date.
Each story is completely different to the other. One story is about a man who is trying to get rid of his ailing mother because of the stress she puts on his life and because he wants to sell her house. He is thinking about putting her in a home when a man comes to visit him about buying the house. It has the strangest ending of any of the stories in the whole book and yet, when you really think about it - it makes complete sense.
Another story is about a boy who is not too fond of his mother so keeps trying to live with his aunt. His aunt and his mother are sisters but do not speak and are not on good terms and yet, he fights tooth and nail, lies and cheats to be able to stay at her house instead because he seemingly hates his own mother. The ending to this story though it may seem uneventful is a sudden rush of anxiety which is created by forming a coherent and repetitive story in which the reader expects the child to have this ending in which he stays with the aunt. However, as the focus shifts back to the aunt and her own nervousness, we see that there is much more at play here and the ending never really happens at all.
Another one of the stories is about a war veteran who is being looked after by his daughter who is a widow. The story is all about how she takes care of him and how his personality in her eyes seemingly changes with the names he calls her by accident and the names she calls him based on these differences. Again, the story has no real ending but the entirety of the narrative is contained within these small moments in which he will sometimes refer to his daughter in the third person whilst talking to her using the name of his wife Abigail. It is simply astounding how Amos Oz was able to write this part so fluently and yet, depict a man who has practically lost his mind possibly due to PTSD. I thought that it was extremely clever.
As I have said, the writing style is fluent and clear, the sentences sometimes go on for lines and lines at a time, filling the whole story up with description. There is far more description than dialogue, which is another thing I enjoyed. The movements of each character, where they go and what they do, is very important to understanding their motivations by the end of the story. Amos Oz's best work - in my opinion - is right here in this book.
In conclusion, this was an absolutely beautiful text and I really wish I could go back and read the whole thing for the first time again.