The Mid East

Re-Imagining Israel

It's hard to picture the headlines on the Middle East being rewritten imaginatively, but Amos Oz does just that in his new book, Rhyming Life and Death. The book is a vivid—and at times, perverse and profane—portrayal of life in Israel, with strong political and theological undertones. It takes place inside the head of a famous Israeli novelist, named simply “The Author,” which Slate magazine likens to Milton’s Satan. “It casts the nation and its opponents as individual personae, doppelgangers, even, seeing and acknowledging each other with all the tolerance for pain and capacity for mutual recognition that morally complex characters could ever hope to muster,” Judith Shulevitz writes.