Patty, an Israeli painter and the daughter of German Holocaust survivors, has been invited to stay at an Artists` House in Germany. Despite her misgivings, she accepts, and the novel gives us an absorbing portrait of the relationships she forms there. Among others, she befriends Otto Becker, an eccentric old man born of brutal incest, who killed his father and then spent long years in prison; an East German writer who is later exposed as a Stasi spy; but mainly Andrea Weber, the manager of the Artists` House and a poetess. The two women form a bond that lasts for years, with many stormy ups and down, until Andrea has a nervous breakdown and suddenly disappears, leaving Patty in profound grief.
A finely crafted novel about the "second generation" - both in Israel and Germany -who are forced to confront the past. It also raises questions about the capacity of art to bring comfort and relief.
A fascinating and disturbing book that will stay with me for a long time... Almog is one of the boldest, most complex artists living among us, she never ceases to examine and renew herself.
Almog excels in her use of fascinating ambivalence.
Almog's lens is both polished and blurred… Everything in [this book] bubbles and boils beneath the surface, like a volcano… Every sentence gives one the feeling that a whole world will soon blow up and be reduced to rubble. But no... In a quiet, consistently restrained manner and a soft tone that seeps into the soul more than any heavy sledge hammer, she deals with difficult pieces of Holocaust history.