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Judas

Cover of Judas

Judas

by Amos Oz
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LONG-LISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE
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 Abarbanel, the daughter of a deceased Zionist leader, a beautiful woman in her forties, 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.

LONG-LISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE
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 Abarbanel, the daughter of a deceased Zionist leader, a beautiful woman in her forties, 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.

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  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 5, 2016
    Oz raises fundamental questions
    concerning Israeli politics, religion, ethics, and history in this novel about a young Jewish scholar adrift in 1959 Jerusalem. Graduate student Shmuel Ash decides to abandon his studies and perhaps leave Jerusalem; when his parents can no longer support him, his girlfriend marries her ex-boyfriend, and even his Socialist discussion group breaks up. Answering an advertisement for a live-in companion in an old Jerusalem neighborhood, Shmuel finds a welcome retreat in the home of Gershom Wald, a 70-year-old retired schoolteacher suffering from an unnamed degenerative disease. Gershom’s primary caregiver is his son’s widow, Atalia, and Shmuel’s job consists mainly in providing Gershom with spirited debate. The old man’s favorite topic—the formation of the state of Israel—proves somewhat sensitive in that Atalia’s father, David Ben-Gurion opponent Shealtiel Abravanel, had opposed the idea of establishing a Jewish state without first addressing Arab concerns adequately, a position for which he was deemed a traitor. Gershom and Shmuel also discuss the famous traitor that Shmuel has been studying, Judas Iscariot. As Shmuel researches Abravanel and Judas, Oz (A Tale of Love and Darkness) suggests each might be less a traitor than an idealist with an alternate point of view. Oz’s appreciation for multiple perspectives underlies powerful descriptions of Judas at the crucifixion, the brutal murder of Atalia’s husband’s during Israel’s War of Independence, and Shmuel with Atalia at King David’s tomb. Through the story of one young man at a crossroads, Oz presents thought-provoking ideas about traitors, a moving lament for the cost of Israeli-Arab conflict, and a heartfelt call for compassion. Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency.

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    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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