Perhaps something of the childhood promise was already infected by a kind of poisonous, romantic crust that associated the Muses with death? Something in the overrefined curriculum of the Tarbuth school? Or perhaps it was a melancholy Slavic bourgeois trait that I encountered a few years after my mother's death in the pages of Chekhov, Turgenev, Gnessin, and even some of the poetry of Rahel. Something that made my mother, when life failed to fulfill any of the promises of her youth, envisage death as an exciting but also protective, soothing lover, a last, artistic lover, who would finally heal the wounds of her lonely heart.
For many years now I have been trailing this old murderer, this cunning ancient seducer, this revolting old rake, deformed by old age yet disguising himself time and again as a youthful prince charming. This crafty hunter of the broken-hearted, this vampire wooer with a voice as bittersweet as that of a cello on a lonely night, a subtle, velvety charlatan, a master of stratagems, a magic piper who draws the desperate and lonely into the folds of his silken cloak. The ancient serial killer of disappointed souls.

--- From A Tale of Love and Darkness
Amos Oz
©2004 Harcourt
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