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Book Review: Suddenly in the Depths of the Forest by Amos Oz

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Suddenly In the Depths of the Forest by award winning Israeli author Amos Oz is a short novel which you can read to your kids. Oz set out to write a folk tale and succeeded in more ways than one.

Once upon a time there was a village. The village had no animals, no cows, dogs or pigs, not even worms, fish or spiders. None of the adults are willing to speak about their misfortune, and at night they bolt their doors for fear of Nehi, the Mountain Demon who is blamed for the adversity.

No one dares go into the mountain except two kids Maya and Matti who… well, you’ll have to read for yourself.

Suddenly In the Depths of the Forest by Amos Oz has more of a European feel to it (forests, mountains, streams) than an Israeli one. While this is a story for children, adults will certainly enjoy this multi-layered fable.

According to the book, Oz based this story on fables he remembers from his childhood told him by his mother. He thinks that was the way his mother (who committed suicide before she reached the age of 40) communicated.

Mr. Oz certainly put a lot of thought into the symbolism in this book. The story could be about being exiled from the Promised Land or about the holocaust, a terrible past of vanished creatures. There is a society based on lying, a voyage into a dangerous land away from home.

We never find out, though, since the conclusion is left open-ended with no single truth found, as is most of life.

Great job is executed, too, by translator Sondra Silverston who managed, somehow, to translate the feel of anxiety as well as the humor

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