The Same Sea

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

A prose writer who tries always for the poetic effect is skirting danger. In this short novel of under two hundred pages, Amos Oz, Israel's most renowned fiction writer, author of a dozen previous works of fiction, aspires not only to the condition of poetry but to its typography as well. Only eighteen pages are justified on the right. The dual effect is to expect the elliptical but be frustrated when encountering it.

Some ten characters, including walk-ons, crowd actions that are never allowed to be fully enacted. At the center is Albert, a recently widowed accountant who is the father of Enrico who has fled to Tibet to find a way to live with his mother Nadia's death. Enrico enlists his father to oversee his fiancee Dita in his absence. Dita, who combines sagacity and pragmatism, moves in with Albert when her career as a film-writer is threatened by Dubi, an engagingly corrupt producer. Albert tries to untangle her contract with Dubi and winds up as his tax adviser. Add to Albert's burden his confidante Bettine and a schemer named Giggy who joins Dita's list of sleep-ins. Pulling the strings is the narrator who asserts his autobiographical presence by referring to one of Oz's own novels.