The stories in this volume have been taken from the four collections that Ruth Almog has published to date, with the addition of nine new stories. Their inclusion in one book enables us to trace the artistic development of one of the Israeli`s major female writers, whose stories have been translated into many languages. Her earlier stories are largely autobiographical; they take place in a village in Eretz Israel during the British Mandate period. This is the landscape of Ruth Almog`s childhood. She is the daughter of immigrants from Germany, which she describes with great vitality, in a lyrical, descriptive style. By contrast, her later stories seem carved out of stone, written in harsh, spare language, appropriate to the cruel situations they describe. In these stories Almog describes the fate of refugees, immigrants, and people on the margins of a society still traumatized - survivors of the war, who are trying to build a new life in the State of Israel. She shows great empathy, particularly for the tragic fate of children, growing up in the shadow of cruel, selfish fathers or mentally unstable mothers.
A significant proportion of Almog`s stories focus on feminist topics. The women in these tales suffer from some physical defect - an illness, loneliness or a tendency to self-destruction that reflects their mental distress or fear of realizing their sexuality. A careful reading of her earlier stories about the pioneer communities reveals the seeds of madness, as well as the cruelty of human beings to one another. The "craziness" and the wild behavior of her child heroine, seen in her puritanical society as abnormal, are at the same time the essential qualities - the hallmark of the artist.
Selected stories available in English translation (for publishers only)