Miron C. Izakson
Izakson`s novel centers around two married couples: Nate and his wife, Rina, and Meir, the narrator, and his wife, Rachel. The lives of the families are intricately enmeshed, despite the contrasts between the two. Obsessive and domineering Nate is a wealthy businessman and serious art collector who treats people as if they were his private property. His personal assistant, Meir, is a weak and hesitant man who knows his place and is enchanted by Nate and his liberal, secular, free lifestyle. While Nate acts as a sort of alter ego to the naive, religious Meir, he is also very dependent on his employee. The symbiotic relationship between the two is also characterized by the interrelationships between the husbands and their wives. The normal things that occur between men and women - love and suspicion, intimacy, parenting, crisis and reconciliation - are magnified so much here that the involvement of each character in the other characters` lives causes individual identities to become blurred.
Izakson`s style is symbolic and at times surrealistic. The plot opens with Nate`s wife, Rina, embarking on an unusual quest – to find her husband a second wife, because "with two of us in the house, a whole range of possibilities could open up." Dina, the second wife, joins the family along with a tiger, because the tiger also presents all kinds of "interesting options." Nate, who does not quite know how to deal with his wife`s ideas and actions, decides to go on a trip, and instructs Meir to take his place both at the office and at home.
While Meir is living in Nate`s home with Dina, Rina, Rachel and the tiger, Nate purchases an extremely valuable secret journal written in the 14th century by the king of France while he was a prisoner of war. The journal holds the key to understanding the history of Europe. Nate is so deeply engrossed in the journal that his alienation from his family increases. He remains abroad for long periods of time, relying more and more on Meir to take care of his household.
An impressive and dramatic work of contemporary literature concerning the nature of power, and its repercussions upon the human spirit. … An engaging, literate, entertaining, inherently fascinating cautionary tale.
The struggles of power and weakness, the connections forged by dependency and exploitation and the salvation offered by love and faith are all explored here. The author is a poet, as his prose clrearly demonstrates.