#Novella Amos Oz
- Author: Amos Oz (1939-2018)
- Title: Crusade (pg 92)
- Genre: novella (Translation from Hebrew)
- Published: 1971
- Monthly plan
- Setting: 1096, Middle Ages
- Characters: French nobleman Guillaume de Touron
- …and his band of ragged followers.
- First Crusade 1095-1099: drive Muslims out of Jerusalem
- Story: follow this group of warriors on their way to the Holy City.
- Theme: obsessive hatred that surrounds Jews
- Irony: nobody wins!
- …this hatred destroys both… the Jews (hated) and crusaders (haters)
- Chapters 1-3
- The Count has a lot of things on his plate besides the Jews:
- shrivelling vinyards, debts, death of his wife
- …and a curse placed on him by a Jew who Guillaume is burning at the stake!
- Chapters 4-6
- Killing is central in the story: a Jew refuses to die after hours of torture
- …and the crusaders end up killing each other!
- Conflict: peace of mind (free Jerusalem) VS mania (dying on way to Holy City)
- Chapters 7– 9 – motley crew of personages that are distractions in the story.
- Chapters 10-13 – trapped in a winter storm in a monastery…
- Guillaume is depressed and delusional
- ….he falls on his spear and is dead.
Weak point: narration
- The narrator rehashes the entries
- made by a chronicler, Claude Crookback for the backstory.
- Crookback supposedly has witnessed all events first-hand.
- This is irritating…IMO narrator and chronicler are synonyms!
- Why not eliminate the middle man and just
- stay with the 3rd person narrator?
Weak point: switching point of view
- It is so strange….in one sentence I read:
- “…they drank and let their horses and servants drink.”
- …and the I read:
- “Even the villagers received us grimly.”
Quote reveals the essence of the main character: (ch 5)
- “…Guillaume felt a wild desire to overpower or crush
- some obstacle..
- …whose nature was hidden from him...”
Weak point: disjointed…too many personages!!
- The story is just 92 pages and I would prefer that Amos Oz
- concentrate on one or two characters/conficts.
- Unfortunately we are thrown from one chapter to the other:
- …the bishop of St.-Etienne, the Jew that perhaps
- …has artfully entered into Guillaume’s ranks
- the howling of wolves, dogs, foxes and villagers.
- We meet a piper Andrés Alvárez and three half brother Celts
- …other Teutonic Knights (Albrecht of Brunswick), Jewish peddler
- …monks in a monastery.
- This goes on and on….and I’m losing interest fast!
- This was just awful.
- I’ve read Amos Oz’s
- International Bestselling memoir
- Tale of Love and Darkness in 2005 and loved it.
- (Don’t miss this book!)
- But in 1970s it seems Mr. Oz was not yet at his literary peak!
- This novella felt like a thin gruel
- …supplemented by literary tricks
- …shifting POV, dual narrators.
- It showed me nothing of Amos Oz’s wonderful writing.
- It had a strange disjointed structure with unrelated info thrown in…
- I got lost, confused, bored.
- I KNOW Amos Oz can do better!!