Sunday, June 26, 2005

Favorite books

In honor of Shavua Hasefer (Israel's national book week), which just finished, NRG asked eight writers about their favorite Jewish-religious book, and received some interesting answers.
Mine is Shmuel I; as I explained last year, apropos the flood of novels based on biblical material,
I don't understand is why, in this explosion of biblical-based fiction, no one has fleshed out what is easily the most powerful and moving story of the lot. And that is, the incredible relationship between Saul and David, whom Saul loves as a son and yet must get rid of in order to save his own kingship. The generally under-rated and under-recognized chapters where Saul is torn between love and hate, and is torn up internally by the conflict, are for me at least, among the most psychologically real and haunting sections in the Tanach. I've always known they would make a brilliant novel (or drama) and wanted to write them up myself, but I'm quite happy for someone to get there before me. I just doubt, in this case at least, anyone can even come close to the original.
Favorite piece of Hebrew literature: Amos Oz's My Michael and Black Box. 'Jewish' literature -- no all-time favorite comes immediately to mind, however looking over my bookshelf, the one book I'd like to revisit is Anne Roiphe's Lovingkindness, a really rare example of a novel about the dilemmas of modern Jewish-religious living done right.
And you?

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