cover image Under This Blazing Light

Under This Blazing Light

Amos Oz. Cambridge University Press, $55 (219pp) ISBN 978-0-521-44367-8

Though written in the 1960s and '70s, these searching essays by Israeli novelist and peace activist Oz are remarkably fresh and timely. Viewing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a clash between ``right and right,'' that is, between the legitimate claims of two peoples for the same land, Oz urges compromise and a gradual, two-state solution. He enthusiastically describes his own experience living on a kibbutz, which he calls a unique attempt to reconstruct the extended family. In a revealing autobiographical sketch, Oz, born in Jerusalem in 1939, writes affectingly of growing up in Israel, of his mother's 1952 suicide and of his Russian-born businessman/poet grandfather, who moved to Palestine in 1933. Along with musings on what he calls the true themes of literature--sorrow, suffering, protest, complaint, consolation--Oz profiles Jewish writers and activists, among them Zionist Labor leader Aharon Gordon and Micha Berdyczew-ski, whose stories, written in Hebrew, are peopled by demigods, spirits and demons. In an introduction written in 1993, Oz calls for a ``Marshall Plan for the Middle East'' to resettle Palestinian and Soviet Jewish refugees and to create a prosperous region. (Apr.)