Israelis made Amos Oz a cultural symbol—almost a fetish—of who they thought they were or fancied themselves to be. But their adoration wasn't unconditional. Oz's editor, literary scholar Yigal Schwartz, called Israel’s unbalanced relationship with Oz a “bipolar reading disorder."
In 2014 Ruby Namdar won the prestigious Sapir Prize for his novel Ha-bayit asher necherav, the first time in the award’s history that it went to a writer not living in Israel. On November 7, 2017, Harper released it under the title The Ruined House: A Novel, in an English translation by Hillel Halkin. The Jewish Review of Books is pleased to present this excerpt from the novel’s opening.
For the Hebrew reader, S. Y. Agnon is not merely canonical, he stands almost outside of time.