Written by one of Israel`s major authors after a serious illness, this powerful collection of stories gives us a rare look at the loneliness of old age and the empty space that both surrounds and lies ahead of them.
By the side of Hendel`s protagonists crouches imminent death, devoid of any romanticism. Yet the obsessive characters that Hendel depicts here, and the ones that most fire the imagination, are the most realistic she has ever created-the man who watches over his wife`s empty place on the park bench; Rimona whose lover died while they were making love; the man who dances incessantly in Dubnov Garden, for he will die the moment he stops; and Arnona-in a superbly grotesque story-who is dragged unwillingly to a party at the end of which Yonatan does not know whether she is in the emergency room or the morgue.
Tel Aviv`s Dubnov Garden, in which all this takes place, is a flower-filled garden of loneliness. Yet Hendel`s writing never rings false, nor does she allow her characters any saving illusion. Of the many books that deal with death and attempt to fill it with meaning, this is one that succeeds-in emptying it.
The book`s main virtue is the courage, or even the cheek to write a book like this...The Empty Place clearly expresses the author`s greatness.
The Empty Place is woven like fine lace, deriving its literary and emotional strength from its subtlety.
Hendel opens doors into regions of the soul... near the source, where the waters are clear, clean and able to quench the thirsting soul.
Hendel`s collection of short stories is one of the most beautiful and lucid texts I`ve read recently. It restores faith in the short story.
Time Out Tel Aviv
Selected stories available in English translation (for publishers only)