A Tale of Love and Darkness

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

A Tale of Love and Darkness (Hebrew: סיפור על אהבה וחושך‎) is an autobiographical novel by Israeli author Amos Oz, first published in Hebrew in 2002.

The book has been translated into 28 languages and over a million copies have been sold worldwide. In 2011, a bootleg Kurdish translation was found in a bookstore in northern Iraq. Oz was reportedly delighted.[1]


Oz chronicles his childhood in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the State of Israel, and his teenage years on Kibbutz Hulda. As a child, he crossed paths with prominent figures in Israeli society, among them Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Shaul Tchernichovsky and David Ben-Gurion. One of his teachers was the Israeli poet Zelda. Joseph Klausner was his great-uncle. Told in a non-linear fashion, Oz's story is interwoven with tales of his family's Eastern European roots. The family's name was Klausner. By changing the name to a Hebrew one, Oz rebelled against that European background while affirming loyalty to the land of his birth. In the book, Oz's father recalls how the walls in Europe were covered in graffiti saying “Jews, go to Palestine," but when he reached Palestine, the walls were scrawled with the words “Jews, get out of Palestine.”[2]

Film adaptation[edit]

A production company owned by Natalie Portman acquired the film rights to the book.[1] Portman began shooting the movie in February of 2014 in Jerusalem. The film marks her directorial feature film debut; she is also playing the role of Oz's mother.[3]


Elias Khoury, a Palestinian-Israeli lawyer whose father Daoud was a victim in a suicide bombing of Zion Square and whose son George was shot to death by Palestinian militants who mistook him for a Jew (see George Khoury), paid to have the book translated into Arabic and distributed in Beirut and other Arab cities in order to promote better understanding of the Jewish people's narrative of national rebirth.[2]

Awards and honours[edit]