ISBN 9780701182281,Rhyming Life and Death

Rhyming Life and Death


Amos Oz


Chatto & Windus



Chatto & Windus

Publication Year 2009

ISBN 9780701182281

ISBN-10 0701182288

Hard Back

Number of Pages 160 Pages
Language (English)

Modern fiction

The novel centres around 8 hours in the life of the Author (unnamed), a literary celebrity in his forties, who is in Tel Aviv on a stifling hot night to give a reading. Bored, he looks for distraction - and finds copy. On the way he stops at a cafe where he 'bumps into' some of his own characters. In his head he conjures up the life stories of the people he meets, not least Ricky, an equally bored but seductive waitress. Later, even as the reading from his new book is underway, and the obligatory inane questions ("Why do you write? Do you write with a pen or on a computer?) have come and gone -- he weaves stories round the audience and the panel.

Afterwards, the Author invites the professional reader for a drink before walking her home. It turns out she lives just opposite, so she goes home and he wanders off into the night. But he returns, climbs the many flights of stairs to the flat, where she lives alone with her cat - and they have a brief but steamy sexual skirmish. Or is this merely a middle-aged writer's fantasy? We never quite know where reality ends and invention begins. He spends the rest of the night wandering, smoking, inventing, regretting and thinking till dawn. The Rhyming of the title refers to the popular couplets of a Hebrew poet, once a household name but now virtually forgotten, whose little rhymes about life punctuate the story. At dawn, the Author reads in yesterday's paper that the poet has just died, almost unnoticed.

This is a gem of a work by a master, about writing, reading, growing old and the elusive chimera of literary posterity.