Have you ever been

…. on a kibbutz? No, me neither. But the latest volume from Amos Oz does more than ‘take you there’. I had a rare dip into fiction, though I knew a little of Oz’s writing from his How to Cure a Fanatic, a couple of lectures he gave some years ago, and the most common sense I have read yet on issues around the West Bank and Gaza, from an Israeli, a former soldier.

Amos Oz has a long list of works to his credit, with getting on for a score of fiction and a further half dozen non-fiction.

In Between Friends he takes us to a kibbutz. And he pens portraits of some of the characters whose lives are inter-twined in communal living, combined in much more than in being Jewish, which is what brought them together. His writing is calm and measured, the detail such that you may feel more part of the community than eavesdropper, or voyeur. Close your eyes and you might just sniff the blooms in the garden, the whiff of the childrens’ dorm or the ashtray left on the table.

But it is undoubtedly shared humanity that binds us all together, and that is the over-riding theme which Oz has pervading his fictional and real worlds. I’ve put his A Tale of Love and Darkness on my list. It promises much.


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