PDF Amos Oz ↠ מיכאל שלי PDF/EPUB ¼ ↠

Set in 1950s Jerusalem My Michael is the story of a remote and intense woman named Hannah Gonen and her marriage to a decent but unremarkable man named Michael As the years pass and Hannah’s tempestuous fantasy life encroaches upon reality she feels increasingly estranged from him and the marriage gradually disintegrates Gorgeously written profoundly moving this extraordinary novel is at once a haunting love story and a rich reflective portrait of a place


10 thoughts on “מיכאל שלי

  1. says:

    I am writing this because people I have loved diedThe central character Hannah Gonen tell us this at the very beginning This is her story a recounting of the first decade of her marriage to Michael The setting is Jerusalemn 1950s He is a third year geology student she a kindergarten teacher and in the evenings a student of Hebrew literature Her father whom she loved above all else died in 1943; her mother brother and his family live in a kibbutz She was a tomboy as a child and led rough games with Arab twins Michael’s mother died when he was three Raised by his father and his four sisters he was above all else to continue his studies and become a professor How did they meet? In the winter of 1950 Hannah tripped in the staircase between the first and second floor of Terra Sancta College Michael caught her In March 1950 they were married The book is about their relationship their respective personalities about their marriage about study in the humanities versus that in the sciences and about the first decade in Israel after independence There are parallels and there are differencesIt is very difficult writing a review of the book without telling you what happens and I am not going to do that In my view even the GR book description reveals too much I went into the book knowing nothing and of this I am glad I chose the book because I have read and very much liked other books by the author Please see the list below Please do not read the spoilers if you have not yet read the book Michael when he has no words with which to answer will return a smile to an unanswered uestion This is his way We are told in 1959view spoiler after nine years of marriage his smile had become “elusive and guilty Something has changed after all these dreary years” hide spoiler


  2. says:

    If you read for plot leave this book on the shelf Oz here traces the deterioration of a marriage between two people with opposing temperaments The woman narrator Hannah is a romantic who once studied literature remains lost in a world of dreams and longs for excitement Her husband Michael is a geologist who speaks little and only with scientific care and precision Nothing terribly dramatic happens except on a purely psychological level Hannah is bored and finds her husband's truths trite Meanwhile he is completely perplexed The marriage should never have been made but it stumbles forward much to the unhappiness of each partner All of this takes place in Jerusalem during the fifties and as an evocation of time and place the novel is magnificent Jerusalem in the decade after the 1948 establishment of the Isaeli State is a gritty and mysterious place Every uarter every suburb harbors a hidden kernel surrounded by high walls Hostile strongholds barred to passers by Can one ever feel at home here in Jerusalem I wonder even if one lives here for a century? City of enclosed courtyards her soul sealed up behind bleak walls crowned with jagged glass p 97 Off in the distance are the Arabs about whom Hannah has her own fantasies centering upon two Arab twins she played with as a child And at the center of this novel is conflict with the Arabs although that stays off screen as Michael is called up and leaves for service in the 1956 Israeli invasion of the Sinai Peninsula


  3. says:

    29 year old male author writing about a young Israeli woman about her thoughts and her experiences as though he knows her mind Written from a first person perspective no less Dude You are on your own Even Stefan Zweig whom you mention a few times does not try to express his female characters psyche in the first personComing off the mixture of tragic and comic tales of ”A Tale of Love and Darkness” I was expecting of the same I was also hoping for of that insight into Jewish life and into the perilous formative years of Israel It does come in limited uantities but the overall delivery falls short in both aspectsThe book is from the perspective of Hannah a young female literature student from Jerusalem in the late 1940s to 1950s who literally stumbles onto Michael a dull unremarkable geology student They get married and the marriage starts to disintegrate from then If you are expecting the unraveling of its characters like in Richard Yates’ brilliant ”Revolutionary Road” you will be disappointed Hannah has her moments of regret disappointment and resentment with Michael But these are interspersed between episodes of longing and attachment to the same Michael Adding on to these are her surreal fantasies which are camouflaged into the story So I don’t really get the sense of what is wrong with their marriage and what Hannah really wants So is this a lesson not to marry someone you meet by chance? Or is the traditional way of matchmaking lead to successful marriages?Certain things are repeated throughout the story like Hansel and Gretel leaving a trail of breadcrumbs perhaps for readers to find their way out of the forest There are the two Arabic twin boys from Hannah’s childhood who keep appearing particularly in her fantasies Then there’s Michael’s passive aggressive smile a condescending smile which he gives instead of an answer I cannot tell if there is any significance to the recurrence of these Then the narrative passages at certain points also lapse into sections of short staccato bursts Short Staccato Bursts Like this And then some You like? You don’t like? Your choiceThe writing is pretty lush and lyrical though almost like a long poem Its prose seems to glide along effortlessly It’s a translation so I wonder if it is something which is inherent in the Hebrew languageIn conclusion the reading is pleasant but unremarkable


  4. says:

    I loved it These are my favorite kind of novels evoking a time and place and putting the reader there making him part of that world for a few days I particularly love books in which the protagonist reads and casually mentions other books that I must myself trace down and read nowOz wrote amazingly and really inhabited the soul of our narrator Hannah but I liked her husband Michael much


  5. says:

    Amos Oz's first book The opening 50 pages are brilliant Just dreamy wonderful perfect prose in translation of Hannah telling us about her history with Michael her husband a geologist a good natured man I loved him The dreamy prose started to feel like work after a bit or maybe I was just waiting for somethings to happen that never actually happened Oz seems to be working on several different themes One is a delicate exploration of personalities and the disconnect between Michael and Hannah that is misunderstood by both But also Hannah begins studying Hebrew literature and Michael is a geologist and Oz explore the disconnect between science which is seen to progress and to promise practical rewards and art which arguably doesn't make progress or contribute to development but looks at the world in different kinds of ways Art was a maybe a bit out of place or neglected in the at the time struggling 1950's Israel Hannah has problems with what is missing in her life and has trouble as her mindset gets farther and farther from the practical mindsets of those around her


  6. says:

    I chose My Michael because I wanted to read Amos Oz and it appears this is one of his earliest and most famous novels In a recent interview he said that if you want to know how's life in a different country the best way to find this out is by reading a novel from that country Indeed My Michael provides this kind of insight into Israel in the 50s There you are in the middle of the sunny rainy misty or dusty Jerusalem in Hanna's kitchen Michael's office or one of the many kibbutzimI liked the way Oz transposes himself into Hannah beautifully writing from a woman's perspective Within 10 years of marriage her sanity deteriorates and she becomes turbulent and suffocated with her life so far and life in general becoming and unstable till she reaches a state of almost permanent physical illness a condition that somehow offers her freedom I don't think she's a strong personality I even think Michael's character is far interesting and I wish there was a story told from his own point of viewThat's it for now I like Oz


  7. says:

    The Jerusalem of My Michael flickers fulminously beneath the mind of Hannah Gonen the erswhile heroine of the novel Married to the kind if somewhat dull geologist Michael Oz gives free reign to Hannah's febrile if slightly unbalanced psyche as she sees refuges from the vague sense of dissatisfaction which runs through her life via a series of increasingly bizarre and often sexual fantasies; from the young Arab twins who she used to wrestle with when she was young to the vulgar and loutish soldiers Hannah constantly seeks a sense of masculinity which contrasts with the calm and meekness of her husband  In many ways the novel explores the conept of masculinity in an increasingly militarised and parochial Israeli society under threat from an external and it times existential Arab threat 'My Michael' explores what strength is; is it the calm understanding if Michael or virility and violence? Hannah seems irrecoverably drawn between the two and seems perpetually on the verge of a nervous breakdown as reality constantly coalesces with her fantasies and dreams At one point her son uestions what the difference is between dreams and reality are his dreams not as tangible as the real world? In many ways Hannah is trapped in the same web unable to discern one from the other her fantasies increasingly take over her mind leaving her unable to distinguish between what is real and what is fake whilst seeking refuge in superficial trappings such as furniture or clothes or romantic dreams about travelling the world both of which acting as extensions to her delusionsOz is able to realise the smothering beauty of Jerusalem; as Michael comments Jerusalem's atmosphere imbues the environment with a deep almost dream like azure and Oz brings out the crenellations the maze like corridors and deciduous elegance of Jerusalem from it's ancient monuments to its modern constructions  Yet beyond this there is something slightly suffocating and spectral about Jerusalem which haunts Hannah;I could hear the chimes of distant bells stirring ripples in the sky As if the other Jerusalem had come come up and appeared out of a melancholy dream It was a dark terrifying reflection Jerusalem was haunting meIn contrast to this Hannah is able find some respite in the Israeli countryside as a kaleidoscope of colours descend upon Hannah briefly offering her hope until her mind is eventually over taken by a sense of emptiness and desolation unable to discern dreams from reality 


  8. says:

    This novel is a curious little book published in Hebrew in 1968 it went on to become a bestseller in Israel What’s curious is that such a book—ostensibly about a neurasthenic narcissist who envisions herself trapped in a marriage that does not sufficiently reward her need for overt displays of affection—could capture the imagination of the reading public in Israel Two things are suggested to me by this fact 1 the small state of Israel is very aware literate and self conscious and 2 this novel is a status report on Israel at a given moment in timeA novel filled with so much particular incident and with writing that is at once poetic and evocative is working against a reduction to allegory and yet The narrator of this story writing in 1961 and looking back on her 10 year marriage is Hanna Greenbaum Gonen a former university student of literature who gave up her studies when she married geology student Michael Gonen She appears to be a succubus—frustrating her husband’s efforts to keep their marriage on an even keel while he completes his studies and lays groundwork for a successful career—all the while portraying herself as thwarted and frustrated as wife homebody and mother Hanna’s world is a mix of the factual and the fantastic and she will in her need for romance imagine herself as princess or femme fatale involved in adventures with strong men such as Jules Verne’s Michael Strogoff and Captain Nemo There is in her a distaste and distrust for the trite and the literal for descriptions of things that avoid adjectives She sometimes rationalizes her self centered obstructionism as means for her husband to show his mettle to overcome in heroic fashion the obstacles she places before himThe dualism that Hanna creates with herself and her husband at opposite poles is analogous to the different Zionist parties those adhering to Jabotinsky ideals of maximal expansion and those in the camp of the kibbutzers This is where my ability to render the particulars of the novel into the different aspects of these two Zionist movements falters as I have little idea of the political history of Israel As allegory Hanna’s unattractive fault finding with the logical practical and unemotional aspect of Michael and their son Yoram is a self reflexive critiue of the grasping whimsical caprices of Hanna’s nature as embodiment of the Jabotinsky idealAnother take on the allegory is that it shows the co existence of a dualism that is necessary in the creation and preservation of a state which is surrounded on all sides by hereditary enemies As portrait then not of just a single person but of the pair of them in a marriage My Michael illustrates inherent tensions of the forces that maintain and strain this particular marriage Israel Michael and Hanna's marriage does not appear to me imperiled from without in the same way Israel faces potential enemies across its borders I speculate when I consider that this is Oz’s point—that the tensions within the state are the very ones that imperil its existence that there are no external enemies that they only emerge when Israel itself becomes self polarized and lashes out The novel’s conclusion with a commando raid unspooling in Hanna’s fevered mind suggests that the drama she craves has not been satisfied—that the recent Israeli sorties in which Michael had participated were not sufficient demonstrations of strength for the romantic hawkish elements in the Israeli state—and that further conflicts lie ahead both for their marriage and for Israel


  9. says:

    Oz wrote this novel in a female protagonist’s voice when he was 26 and as he got older and wiser swore that he would never attempt that again And yet Hanna Gonen took on a life of her own for him as he wrote this novel in a cramped toilet after work over several months while his wife and child slept adjacent in the one bedroom flat they lived in at the timeHanna meets Michael while both are in university in Jerusalem in 1950 she studying literature and he studying geology She is the imaginative one living in her fantasies of adventure in foreign lands with her twin Arab friends while Michael is the boring realist relying on logic Opposites attract and they marry and Hanna gives up her studies to play housewife and support Michael in his career Michael’s career is important to everyone in his family as he is the sole surviving progeny of his father and his father’s three sisters and much money and effort has been invested in Michael’s education – Hanna must respect and honor this commitment They have a son almost immediately upon getting married and Hanna is relegated to housework child minding and husband supporting while nursing thoughts of a dramatic life in her imagination even straying towards having sexual thoughts towards a 17 year old neighbour whom she is helping with his literature studies To add to her woes their son also turns out like Michael lacking in empathy and ruled by black and white logicNothing much happens in this novel except for typical scenes of domestic life in an insular community and many chapters begin with “the dreary sameness of the days” Michael is conscripted into the army to fight in the 1956 war against the Arab states arraigned against the fledgling state of Israel and this event produces some tension within the family unit We are not introduced to any war scenes except to hear the news of what’s going on via third and fourth hand stories from the battlefront that reach Hanna It is her reactions to the conflict and the threat it poses to her family that we experienceWhen Hanna becomes pregnant for the second time after a 10 year gap she begins to harbour feelings of jealousy towards her husband who is moving forward in his career and teaching younger women in private while her own body goes out of shape and another painful pregnancy is all that lies before her Hanna retreats into her private world of fantasy inventing characters in her mind to wreak revenge on those who have consigned her to this state and we suspect that her Michael is not being spared either This is a pre second wave feminist novel and its timing must have been perfect at the time for the issues of woman and family and woman and career play out strongly under the otherwise slow paced account of a young family going about its daily life in an emerging nation state The redeeming uality of imagination and art to transcend an unhappy reality a gift bestowed upon the artist and not on the realist is brought into focus In the end Hanna is the real hero unlike her unimaginative husband and is able to add colour to her dull life while Michael has to seek validation by piling on academic honours all of which are destined to be invalidated with each successive wave of scientific discovery


  10. says:

    I have mixed feelings about this book On one hand it is too gloomy and depressing for me to really like it and on the other it's so beautifully and poetically written The story did not actually reach me but Oz's writing is as amazing as ever