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November 25, 1988 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-11-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I BOOKS

titilelettc

C at law

SEE THE ALL NEW 1989
FLEETWOOD SEDAN and
SEVERAL NOW
SEDAN DEVILLE AVAILABLE IN STOCK

Sedan de Ville

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• New, longer design
• Distinctive profile with fender
• Luxurious interior

ALSO •

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• Tufted seating areas
• "Tiffany" carpeting

s of
o our
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. 'take
E v s a
EAr

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DOWN!

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DEVILLE

Lease for

$ 4 3 035

Per Month

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or purchase
for

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The "Good Service" Dealer"

$24 _ 9 500*

PHONE 851.7200

DU/?.C.7

sar;,,(cliv-as

GOORAI motoes COIIPORMION

'60 mo. closed-end lease for qualified customers. Lease payment based on 60 mos., 75,000 mile limitation. 10$ per mile for excessive mileage.
Lessee has option to purchase vehicle at lease and for $9,922.17. Lessee is responsible for excessive wear and tear. 1st payment in advance
w/refundable security deposit of $450.00. To get total payments, multiply payment times 60. 4% use tax and plates extra.
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may also not reflect the ultimate cost of the vehicle due to the possibility of future rebates, allowances, discounts and incentive awards
the manufacturer.
**Just add tax, title.
.4 ■ 1111111•W

18

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 1988

Has Secrets
About Human Frailty

Black Box

JOSEPH COHEN

Special to The Jewish News

H

ow times change. In
the 19th century and
before, writers went
to the Levant to bring their
Western readers the romance
of the exotic Middle East.
Today, the writers of the ex-
otic Middle East, the Israelis,
bring to their Western
readers not the romance but
the realism of the Levant.
In an irony that Flaubert,
the father of literary realism,
would have appreciated, the
realism coming out of the
Middle East is far more exotic
that the romance ever was.
Amos Oz's recently publish-
ed novel Black Box is a good
example.
Its principal characters
possess none of the attributes
we associate with roman-
ticism: they are not idealists,
there is nothing glamorous or
transcendant in their lives
and they do not seek the in-
finite. They are earth-bound
pragmatists. Though they
may be intensely emotional,
they are presented to us with
cool detachment.
Yet they are transformed in-
to exotics, made into giants by
the enlarging of their fierce
egos set against the
miniaturization of their
landscapes.
Like Gulliver in the land of
the Lilliputians — the exotic
realism here is nothing if not
Swiftian — they loom larger
than life but are held captive
by their own pettiness. Their
exoticism is defined by
various extravagances of self-
indulgence, exploitation and
fanaticism.
The central character of the
novel is Ilana, once married
to and subsequenty divorced
by Alec, an Israeli political
scientist and former war hero,
internationally renowned for
a book on fanaticism, who
teaches at a Midwestern
American university.
Theirs was a marraige
made not in heaven but forg-
ed on Mt. Olympus, for they
disport themselves like gods,
trading mainly in caprice and
treachery. All the elements of
Greek tragedy, especially its
fatalism, are present here.
After nine years of mar-
riage and the birth of a son,
Boaz, the marriage comes
apart, following six years of Il-
ana's frequent cuckholding of
Alec with his colleagues and
friends, strangers, the electri-
cian and the milkman, to
reduce his superhuman ego to
shreds.

Subsequently, Ilana mar-
ries Michel, another tyrant,
this one masked and equally
ruthless, a Sephardic Jew
from Algeria, via Paris, a
right-wing Orthodox zealot.
They have a young daughter,
Yifat, whom they idolize.

Amos Oz: Exotic Realism.

Michel is a worthy match
for both Ilana and Alec who,
though their marriage has
been sundered, are forever
locked into a love-hate rela-
tionship that continues to be
nurtured by past infidelity
and present cruelty.
Because Boaz is wild and
beginning to get into trouble
with the police, Ilana writes
to Alec for help.
Inordinately rich, Alec
begins to shower all of them
with money. Boaz receives
paternal advice from Michel
and enough of Alec's money to
restore the abandoned family
estate at Zikhron, turning it
into a hippie commune, bas-
ed not on drug-related ex-
ploitative escapism, but on
humane principles.
He eases the hard lives of
those around him through
decency, hard work and a love
of all living things.
Alec uses his vast wealth to
obtain vengeance on Ilana
and destroy her second mar-
riage by co-opting Michel.
But Michel is wily enough to
co-opt Alec, obtaining ever
larger sums of money from
him to build a greater Israel.
Motivated by Orthodox
fanaticism, he is no different
and no beter than Alec. One
would wrest total control of
the occupied territories by ir-
resistible real-estate offers,
the other by taking the land
with a gun.
Alec and Michel also have
in common the love of a
woman whose spirit neither
can tame and who can never
belong to one man. The

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