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November 16, 2021

#Novella Amos Oz

by N@ncy


Quick Scan:

  1. Setting: 1096, Middle Ages
  2. Characters: French nobleman Guillaume de Touron
  3. …and his band of ragged followers.
  4. First Crusade 1095-1099:  drive Muslims out of  Jerusalem
  5. Story: follow this group of warriors on their way to the Holy City.
  6. Theme: obsessive hatred that surrounds Jews
  7. Irony:  nobody wins!
  8. …this hatred destroys both… the Jews (hated) and crusaders (haters)


Quick Scan:

  1. Chapters 1-3  
  2. The Count has a lot of things on his plate besides the Jews:
  3. shrivelling vinyards, debts, death of his wife
  4. …and a curse placed on him by a Jew who Guillaume is burning at the stake!
  5. Chapters 4-6
  6. Killing is central in the story: a Jew refuses to die after hours of torture
  7. …and the crusaders end up killing each other!
  8. Conflict:  peace of mind (free Jerusalem) VS  mania (dying on way to Holy City)
  9. Chapters 7– 9 – motley crew of personages that are  distractions in the story.
  10. Chapters 10-13 – trapped in a winter storm in a monastery…
  11. Guillaume is depressed and delusional
  12. .he falls on his spear and is dead.
  13. #EndofUselessStory


Weak point:   narration

  1. The narrator rehashes the  entries
  2. made by a chronicler, Claude Crookback for the backstory.
  3. Crookback supposedly has witnessed all events first-hand.
  4. This is irritating…IMO narrator and chronicler are synonyms!
  5. Why not eliminate the middle man and just
  6. stay with the 3rd person narrator?


Weak point:  switching point of view

  1. It is so strange….in one sentence I read:
  2. “…they drank and let their horses and servants drink.”
  3. …and the I read:
  4. “Even the villagers received us grimly.”
  5. #SoConfusing


Quote reveals the essence of the main character: (ch 5)

  1. “…Guillaume felt a wild desire to overpower or crush
  2. some obstacle..
  3. …whose nature was hidden from him...”


Weak point: disjointed…too many personages!!

  1. The story is just 92 pages and I would prefer that Amos Oz
  2. concentrate on one or two characters/conficts.
  3. Unfortunately we are thrown from one chapter to the other:
  4. …the bishop of St.-Etienne, the Jew that perhaps
  5. …has artfully entered into Guillaume’s ranks
  6. the howling of wolves, dogs, foxes and villagers.
  7. We meet a piper Andrés Alvárez and three half brother Celts
  8. …other Teutonic Knights (Albrecht of Brunswick), Jewish peddler
  9. monks in a monastery.
  10. This goes on and on….and I’m losing interest fast!



  1. This was just awful.
  2. I’ve read Amos Oz’s
  3. International Bestselling memoir
  4. Tale of Love and Darkness in 2005 and loved it.
  5. (Don’t miss this book!)
  6. But in 1970s it seems Mr. Oz was not yet at his literary peak!
  7. This novella felt like a thin gruel
  8. …supplemented by literary tricks
  9. …shifting POV, dual narrators.
  10. It showed me nothing of Amos Oz’s wonderful writing.
  11. It had a strange disjointed structure with unrelated info thrown in…
  12. I got lost, confused, bored.
  13. #WasteOfMyReadingTime
  14. I KNOW  Amos Oz can do better!!
Read more from novella, novellas #NovNov

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