Critical Context

Oz began A Perfect Peace in 1970, laid it aside until 1976, and completed it in 1981. Doubtless, then, the narrative and thematic directions of his novel had to be changed from his original intentions. It is certain that as time passed his view of modern Israel past and present and future changed also; from the perspective of the past Oz writes with prophetic, even godlike, knowledge of the way to achieve universal peace. A member of the Peace Now organization and a spokesman for Palestinian rights, he has been writing since the mid-1960’s from the context of Jewishness: its culture, its politics, its history. Dispossession, isolation, alienation, and hostility, however, are found not only in Israel but also in all the nations of the world; in an effort to promote understanding among people separated from one another by their boundaries and beliefs and fears, then, Oz maintains an international vision that is reflected by life in Israel. In an unending stream of essays, articles, short stories, novels, and speeches, Oz demonstrates over and over that community is an answer to the worst ills in the world. Kibbutz Granot may be a small settlement in Israel, but it is made up of both native Israelis and European immigrants representing a large segment of civilization. Peace in a microcosm is translatable to peace everywhere.

The growing importance of Israel as a world nation lends force to the voice of Amos Oz, but he is a writer whose passion, vision, and art would make him a singular influence anywhere.