This collection of stories, by one of Israel's foremost women writers, adds up to a multi-voice discourse. All the stories deal with women haunted by past experiences directly affecting their present. The first two stories' protagonists are widows who discover secrets about their long-dead husbands. In one story, the widow meets her first husband who not only reveals that he betrayed her with her sister, but that her late husband, with whom she had a long, happy marriage, was also unfaithful to her. In the other story, the widow discovers that her husband had a daughter by another woman, whose existence she had not even suspected. In all the stories, the narrator is a witness, and it is she who sets the pace and the atmosphere. Helpless before the unfathomable inner world of her protagonists, she creates the fascinating sense of doubt and mystery which animates the collection.
Hendel presents vivid descriptions of the physical world in which her characters act, and she conveys deep but unsentimental empathy with their suffering.
Hendel's prose is almost hypnotic... One can only admire the close artistic weave, not only of the individual stories, but of the whole cycle, which constitutes a single tapestry.
Few stories in Hebrew fiction in recent years…can match Hendel's …for sheer literary quality.
Critic Menahem Perry
Selected stories available in English translation (for publishers only)