This "development novel" illustrates Bartov's gift for recreating an epoch, in this case Palestine immediately before and during World War II. Halfway Out is one of the few Hebrew novels that describes the effect of the war on life in British-ruled Eretz Israel. To the protagonists, Europe and the heritage of Judaism are as real as their poverty or the pastoral agricultural settlements where they live. The story begins when Nahman Shpigler, aged 13, inherits a bicycle that enables him to go to the beach and to secret meetings with his girlfriend, even to Tel Aviv. Reports of the dangers facing Jews in Europe slowly filter in. Bartov's portrayals of the different reactions to the news are a gripping study in horror and denial, powerlessness and militancy. Nahman eventually enters that dark world by enlisting in the British Armed Forces' Jewish Brigade.
A complex revealing work...with deep and moving passages.
An intriguing story, rich descriptions, and a fine realistic style.
Bartov's greatest achievement.
One of the most outstanding books of Hebrew fiction: excellent as literature, as a history of the sabra generation and as a portrait of adolescence.