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Judas

By: Amos Oz
Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
Length: 10 hrs and 46 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

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Summary

Winner of the International Literature Prize, the new novel by Amos Oz is his first full-length work since the best-selling A Tale of Love and Darkness.

Jerusalem, 1959. Shmuel Ash, a biblical scholar, is adrift in his young life when he finds work as a caregiver for a brilliant but cantankerous old man named Gershom Wald. There is, however, a third, mysterious presence in his new home. Atalia Abravanel, the daughter of a deceased Zionist leader, a beautiful woman in her 40s, entrances young Shmuel even as she keeps him at a distance. Piece by piece, the old Jerusalem stone house, haunted by tragic history and now home to the three misfits and their intricate relationship, reveals its secrets. At once an exquisite love story and coming-of-age novel, an allegory for the state of Israel and for the biblical tale from which it draws its title, Judas is Amos Oz's most powerful novel in decades.

©2016 Amos Oz (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Anthony
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 15-06-17

Tender love and betrayal

Beautifully written exploration of love and betrayal...

Oz juxtaposes the insights derived by a young man employed and accommodated in a household of unconventional Zionists in the 1940s and '50s with the role of Judas in Jesus' crucifixion.

Oz writes tenderly about love, coming of age, and alternative views of an imagined future. He explores the freezing out of Zionists who conceptualised a state that would accommodate both Jews and Palestinians in a widely democratic and diverse state and society. Alongside this he portrays Judas as a spy turned disciple, encouraging Jesus to travel to Jerusalem where he will not only be crucified as a threat to Roman power, but will demonstrate his divine status. An act of treachery led to recognition of godliness.

More generally, can acting to protect a hard-fought ideal be both treacherous and a demonstration of love?

Terrifically read, thought provoking, stirring and contemporary...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Love, betrayal and the birth of a nation.

This is essentially an exploration of love and betrayal, both at the personal and societal level. Shmuel Ash is a young Jewish man living in Jerusalem in the early years of the independent Israeli state. He finds himself at a crossroads in his life; his father's bankruptcy has forced him to abandon his university studies on the role of Judas in the formation of the Christian religion and he is drifting, trying to find a new role for himself.

He takes up employment as a part-time carer to an elderly, brilliant man who lives in an old house with his daughter-in-law. As the people and the house begin to give up their secrets, Shmuel is forced to examine his own life through the prism of the lives of others. In particular he speculates on the life of Jesus, weighing up whether he was simply a pious Jew who was only tying to return Judaism to a purer form. Additionally, was it in fact Judas, the disciple who truly and passionately believed in Christ's mission and divinity, who became the first Christian through his betrayal of Jesus and the subsequent crucifixion and resurrection.

Shmuel discovers that he is living with the widow and father-in-law of a Zionist who was branded a traitor by the first Israeli government. That man was believed to have betrayed the Jews in their struggle against the British and the Arabs for nationhood because of his belief that Jews and Arabs could live together in Palestine, in peace and harmony. All of Shmuel's belief in Zionism is brought into question by this discovery and his growing friendship and love for his employer and housemate. What is the nature of betrayal and the meaning of love, between friends, families, comrades and races? And how has religion muddied the waters?

This is an engrossing and thought-provoking novel. Beautifully written and full of interesting ideas.

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A very thoughtful rendering of a story of a nation

The Story of Israel recounted through lives of individuals, their loves, strivings and doubts. d

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  • Tom
  • 14-01-19

Beautifully written atmospheric

I chose this book because of the reputation of Amos Oz worldwide. Judas certainly justified that reputation. He paints beautiful pictures with every description, whether of people, places or feelings.

The setting of the novel is 1959 Jerusalem, a divided city struggling to find it identity after its founding. The young man, Schmuel, at the center of the story shares his nation’s struggle. He’s on the road to finding out his own identity when he takes a job as a companion to an old man and moves into his home shared with an intriguing woman, the daughter of an opponent of the State of Israel. The story follows three months of Schmuel’s stay during which he sees the dynamics of the arguments that roil Israel to this day.

Oz’s descriptive style creates an atmosphere that allows the reader to feel the conflicting emotions of the young man trying to find his way, falling in love with a woman he can’t have, dealing with an old man who lost his son in war and understanding the arguments of a dead man considered a traitor to his nation.

Judas moves slowly but the quality of the writing kept me engaged throughout. I’d like to read more of Oz’s work.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Donald
  • 21-10-18

Outstanding novel

Brilliant writing that spans the ages. I never lost interest and was sorry the novel ended when and where it did.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Lahana Singer
  • 15-05-18

Amos Oz is artist of words.

Very good. Oz paints his story with beautiful words. Found the ending slightly dissatisfing some how.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Isabella Piestrzynska
  • 22-05-17

Incandescent

A sublime experience. Absolutely shattering and yet funny, profoundly sophisticated and majestic in scope and understanding.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • MidwestGeek
  • 31-08-18

Good but not his best.

Since we can no longer follow reviewers on audible, for full review, please see my entry on goodreads.com.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful