“Countries need writers as their voices of conscience; few have them. Israel has Oz.” — Washington Post
The year is 1947: the last days of the British mandate in Palestine. Twelve-year-old Proffy, indoctrinated by his patriotic father and a zealous Bible teacher, dreams of dying heroically in battle, fighting for the creation of a Jewish state. Then he meets and befriends a kindly British soldier who shares with Proffy a love of language and the Bible. Accused of treason for the friendship, Proffy must learn the true nature of loyalty and betrayal. Panther in the Basement is a rich tapestry of character and political intrigue set against the birth of modern Israel.
“Insightful, inventive, and lyrical.” — New York Times Book Review
|Publisher:||Recorded Books, LLC|
|Edition description:||Unabridged, 3 cassettes, 270 minutes|
About the Author
AMOS OZ (1939 – 2018) was born in Jerusalem. He was the recipient of the Prix Femina, the Frankfurt Peace Prize, the Goethe Prize, the Primo Levi Prize, and the National Jewish Book Award, among other international honors. His work has been translated into forty-four languages.
Date of Birth:May 4, 1939
Date of Death:December 28, 2018
Place of Birth:Jerusalem
Place of Death:Tel Aviv, Israel
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Rather than a novel, this reads like a series of vignettes about a child's view of British-occupied Palestine on the verge of becoming the state of Israel. It's written as an adult's reminiscence of youth and as such gets a little disconnected and at times prophesying, but in a plausible way; an adult looking back will remember moments which later turn out to be meaningful and tie them into a pattern, rather than remember a blow-by-blow plot. Oz' rendition of ¿Proffi¿'s feelings about life and thoughts about the politics of the time reads as a 12-year-old's, albeit a rather precocious one, and his ability to bring Israel of 1947 to life for the reader is simply stunning.
This is an interesting story about a young boy living in Jerusalem who "befriends" a soldier, part of the British occupying force before Israel became a recognized country. I put befriends in quotation marks because Proffi, the boy, really wants to ferret out information from the soldier, which might be useful to his little "resistance" group (which has nothing to do with the real Underground). But the other members of his group find him out and brand him a traitor.The story has no ending, at least not a definitive one. And the views of the child narrator are limiting; for example, we never learn what the child's true name is - he's only called "Proffi," which is a nickname he's earned because of his bookish nature (he's like a professor). Still, it's an interesting read, and some of the themes contained within the novel (what "traitor" means, the use of animals as metaphors, etc) are thought-provoking.
"Proffy", short fr Professor, is a twelve and a half-year-old boy living in Jerusalem in 1947, on the eve of Israeli statehood. He desires to be a "Panther in the Basement", i.e, a freedom fighter for the Jewish State, taking as his models, movie stars from fictional films of the forties. His zeal is accidentally thwarted by his clandestine friendship with a British soldier who, in the guise of teaching him English in exchange for lessons in Hebrew,communicates the humanity of the enemy. When Proffy's relationship with a member of the occupying army is discovered, he is termed a traitor by his peers and is put on trial. Proffy struggles to maintain his membership in the secret organisation of his friends while holding on to his personal tie with the British. How the boy deals with his conflicting emotions along with his awakening awareness of the opposite sex is a story told with humor and virtuosity by the prize-winning novelist. As Oz mixes the present with the past, and contrasts the boy's coming of age with the birth of the state of Israel. the reader is made aware the growing pains of both subjects.