Few Israeli novelists have succeeded as well as Oz in portraying
Israel's intensely felt political and religious strife. Black Box ,
his most experimental work to date, is told in letters: Ilana, "a
born harlot," contacts her ex-husband for the first time in seven
years to seek help for their desperately disturbed son, whose
parentage was questioned in court. As well-meaning lawyers and
relatives join in, what at first seems one woman's madness finally
serves to illuminate all society. The ambiguities of the Israeli
psyche are depicted by Ilana's second husband, who resorts to
blackmail in soliciting funds for highly suspicious Zionist causes.
Absolutely nothing here is trivialized or cliched, no easy feat
considering Oz's themes.