The son of a doomed storytelling mother and a citizen of a nation conceived as a lifeboat in a sea of genocide become a state that engenders statelessness, celebrated Israeli writer Oz is acutely sensitive to the paradoxes of language and the imagination. Bringing the same intensity of engagement and passion for poetic expression to fiction and nonfiction alike, he articulates the psychological complexity beneath the armor of Israel’s bellicose politics and the tragedy of its geopolitical predicament. This well-organized volume reaches back to the 1960s, mixes genres, and showcases Oz’s beautifully mythic prose. He vigorously dissects Israel’s history, kibbutz life, and the unique ambiance of Jerusalem, the “gloomy capital of an exuberant state.” Deeply attuned to “primeval hatred,” the emotional valence of nature, the conflict between community demands and private dreams and sorrows, he writes with great insight about “identity and identification.” Fluent in social matters, Oz finds meaning in the lives of individuals, each a cosmos of pain and love. Timely and illuminating.