The human soul is acknowledged to be a great mystery. Yehudit Hendel sharpens this perception, handling it with brilliance and complexity, largely due to the fact that the hero of her novel is a skilled psychiatrist. The plot describes the emotional deterioration of Elchanan, who is obsessively in love with Yaeli, the wife of his good friend Yoel. Every night for five years he stands at the window of his darkened apartment, gazing out at their well-lit apartment, living his emotional life through them, envious of his friend`s happiness. Suddenly, Yoel is killed in a traffic accident and shortly afterwards Elchanan`s dream comes true and he marries Yaeli. He should be the happiest of men, especially when Yaeli gives birth to their child, but that is not the case. The dead Yoel continues to live in Elchanan`s mind, disturbing his peace, and when he looks into his child`s gray eyes, he seems to be gazing into the eyes of his dead friend. Furthermore, Elchanan has hallucinations about Yoel, who is physically present as in some ballad or Gothic horror novel.
This presence not only disrupts his married life but also his professional life. He loses faith in his ability to cure his patients and write up his research. It is as though the depression and psychosis of his clients have infected him, and when his mother tells him about her first family - her first husband and daughter who perished in the Holocaust - Elchanan feels pursed by fate.He returns to his bachelor apartment, to standing in the dark by the window, to the blank white pages of his research.
This psychological novel about a sick love questions the power of psychiatry to understand the soul of man, demonstrating that where science falls short, literature can offer fascinating insights into the nature of individual suffering. Yehudit Hendel`s expressive style makes the novel a remarkable literary achievement.
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