Rhyming Life & Death, by Amos Oz, is an amazing work of fiction, with a unique perspective. The book is a fascinating look at writing, life and death, fantasy and reality, and the comparison of how opposites need each other in order to complete the whole.
The protagonist is known as The Author, and we never learn his true name. The use of third person narration is subjective in Rhyming Life & Death.
This form of narration affords us to be inside the mind of The Author, and we know his thoughts and feelings. This format is perfect for the novel, in that it exposes the immediate train of thought of The Author. He is a man who is bored with the task at hand (before it even begins), that of having to attend a literary event where there will be a reading of his work, and he will speak and answer questions regarding his writing.
I won’t go into the descriptions of the characters The Author develops, as the book is a slim volume, and I would give the entire story away. Suffice it to say that there are some interesting individuals in the story, and there are both humorous and poignant moments. Oz is incredible with his vivid and detailed imagery, leaving nothing to the reader’s imagination.
The Author’s stories are just that, stories, and most do not have a plot, but are a form of amusement for him. There is a often a fine line between reality and fantasy, and in Rhyming Life & Death, it is often difficult to separate the facts from the imaginary. They often seem as one, and at times it appears that the characters seemingly have taken on a life of their own, within The Author’s mind.
In my opinion Rhyming Life & Death is a powerful book (although some might not think so, as it can seem disjointed), and one that is an illumination on writing and on reading, and on the life cycle. Within the intensity, it can be humorous at times. It is almost as if Oz is assailing or ridiculing writing itself, or at least the process of writing and being published, and the effects of the endeavor, both during and after. That is the beauty of Amos Oz, his ability to infuse the absurd within the pages, to leave beginnings with no endings, and yet brilliantly show that clarity of mind can coexist with one’s imagination.
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