In this novel, two young men’s struggle over a woman is also a conflict between two worlds ̶ the haves and the have-nots, both socially and emotionally. An orphan, Meir Rothko pulled himself up by his bootstraps and loves Zila even before he meets her ̶ she was the lover of Yoel Hochberg, a man he admires. Meir successfully takes over Yoel`s business and marries Zila, only to discover later that Yoel still loves her deeply. This gives rise to a whirlpool of events that involves wives, lovers and mothers, along with an aunt and two whores; also the relationship between Haim Cohen, a money-lender who gouges his clients, and Dudu, the man with the long neck, who owes Haim the most, for he gouged out his eye when they were young boys. Despite the struggles, however, these men truly need and even admire one another. They cheat one another, betray and lie ̶ mostly to themselves ̶ ruin things then try to fix them. Yet they are also generous, compassionate and kind. Bar-Yosef’s well-honed dramatic skills are clearly in evidence in this powerful novel.
The love that develops between Tsila and Meir, sick and painful as it is, provides the novel’s most wonderful scenes… The dramatic quality of his writing seeps through, and becomes a driving force in the novel.
Wonderfully succinct writing… Great beauty.
English translation available (for publishers only)