Wednesday 3 September 2008

More Oz

Here is the quote, from p. 99, (in Don't Call it Night, by Amos Oz, 2004, Chatto & Windus):

..A girl or a young woman would come in the night to share his hammock, bringing huge earthenware cups of coffee from somewhere for them both. Past and future appeared to him on such nights as two common diseases, slow, destructive plagues that had infected most of mankind and were gradually causing all sorts of strange frenzies in their victims. And he rejoiced that he was not afflicted, and considered himself immune...

I had forgotten that he mentions it in the context of sex. It makes sense there, but in a limited sort of way - unless of course the sex is a metaphor for life...

Here's another noticing: the quote extends from the last line of page 99 to the first line of page 100. The last numbered page - including the list of characters - is page 200. This puts the quote at the heart of the book. The book is divided into chapters without any numbering, so I counted - it is in the middle of chapter 15, though there are only 26 chapters in all. Fifteen in Hebrew is yod he, one of God's many pronounceable names: since numbers are represented by letters, one can 'read' them. (This sort of play is common in the Bible, and in Kabbalistic and Judaic literature.)

Just in case you find this is far-fetched: the character's name is Theo.
And here is a link ( to a review in the New York Times, entitled God is in the details...
Worked on the Chinese Olympics poem: two versions - one with long lines, one with short ones. Shall wait for a day or maybe a week, before showing it to anyone.

Added much later:
Re the Hungarian cantor who was in the book for no apparent reason. I found the following reference in Wikipedia, when looking up Bloomsday in Dublin:
Bloomsday has also been celebrated since 1994 in the Hungarian town of Szombathely, the fictional birthplace of Leopold Bloom's father, Virág Rudolf, an emigrant Hungarian Jew. The event is usually centered on the Iseum, the remnants of an Isis temple from Roman times, and the Blum-mansion, commemorated to Joyce since 1997, at 40–41 Fő street, which used to be the property of an actual Jewish family called Blum. Hungarian author László Najmányi in his 2007 novel, The Mystery of the Blum-mansion (A Blum-ház rejtélye) describes the results of his research on the connection between Joyce and the Blum family.

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