Omer Zamir is a young poet in awe of poetry and the mountains it can move, the hearts it can uplift, and the vibe it can create in the lives of those with which it resonates. His grandfather introduced him to the world of literature at nineteen, and he has been writing ever since. He currently lives in Hallowell, Maine.
Omer’s work is soft, yet has a hidden set of fangs among its downy layers. There is an ephemeral quality to his work that is always brought to a crashing finale by his last lines; driving the point home in an intellectually brilliant and firm statement. His subject matter is at once simple and grand, a stately monument to the eureka moments that occur to everyone on a day to day basis.
“Must reading for fans of the master Yiddishist.”
– Kirkus Reviews
A revealing profile of the Nobel laureate in literature by his son and only child. While Singer was pursuing his career in the US in the 1930s, young Zamir emigrated from Poland with his mother (from whom Singer was divorced in 1940), first to the USSR, then to Palestine, where the boy grew up on a kibbutz. When the young man finally visited his father in New York in 1955, their reunion understandably was strained; Singer hadn't even had mail contact with his son since 1949 and viewed his arrival as something of a burden, a distraction from his writing. The portrait Zamir draws of his father here is in many ways an unflattering one: Singer is shown as not only emotionally absent, but frugal to the point of cheapness and often narcissistic. For example, when Zamir proudly showed his father a collection of his own stories, the world-famous writer ``glanced at it only a few seconds, then he gave it back to me with an angry expression: `Why don't you translate my books instead of writing your own.' '' Still, during Zamir's subsequent visits to New York, and Singer's occasional trips to Israel, the relationship slowly warmed up as father and son collaborated on rendering the former's work into Hebrew, honestly discussed their difficult histories and their differing political and religious ideologies, and slowly learned to appreciate each other. Ultimately, Zamir states, ``a deep friendship between us was created''; however, the passive voice and the absence of the word ``love'' seem to reveal a lingering deep ambivalence. Zamir's book sometimes suffers mildly from a vague chronology—he rarely provides dates—and from his own autobiographical reticence. But generally, his style is fluid and colorful, and his memoir filled with interesting anecdotes and quotes. Must reading for fans of the master Yiddishist. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen)
Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1995
Page count: 208pp
Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1995
The Bell Jar
Favorite line from a book
I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes. " Ulysses by James Joyce
Unexpected skill or talent
Passion in life
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