...the Israeli master has delivered one of the boldest of all his works ... Oz always evokes the gloomy, storm-lashed city with a Gothic storyteller’s relish ... Oz’s extraordinary invention — a dead provocateur whose unsettling legacy haunts the eerie house on Rabbi Elbaz Lane — frames a series of mind-stretching, and heart-tugging, dialogues ... Nicholas de Lange, Oz’s distinguished translator, steers these virtuoso transitions between debate and domesticity with unerring skill.
...a very absorbing addition to his remarkable oeuvre ... Oz is more interested in the political and religious questions that surround them than he is in nuanced characterisation ... Oz presents the clash of idealisms in such a way as to allow Israel’s recent past to reverberate in the present, while at the same time connecting them to the much more ancient Judas story that fascinates Shmuel. It’s a complex and impressive achievement.
The book’s prose is meticulous, almost pre-modern. This and the plot’s stillness — days pile up, but many of the novel’s 'events' are Shmuel’s realizations — make reading Judas feel a bit like reading Thomas Bernhard without the misanthropy ... Wald’s monologues are enchanting, part of what makes Judas a successful novel of ideas. Oz doesn’t overdo it, though. By folding Shmuel’s thoughts into the text’s narrative fabric, he allows them to double as the character’s ideas and the novel’s own ... Oz pitches the book’s heartbreak and humanism perfectly from first page to last, as befits a writer who understands how vital a political role a novelist can play.