Mira Magen's novel describes the world of a woman and a mother, telling the story of a woman’s love for a man with whom she is willing to share her life. Magen relates these parallel events with sensitivity and great empathy. Zohara works as a nurse in an internal ward in a Jerusalem hospital. Unmarried, she is raising her six-year-old son alone. Magen has a superior talent for describing the daily routine of this brave woman who divides her time between caring for her son and for her patients. When she is at work, her son is well cared for: an elderly couple who lives next door to her rented apartment watches him and enjoys the light he brings into their lives. Mishal, their divorced son, owns Zohara's apartment. He is a charming businessman who enjoys traveling and having a good time. Zohara begins to have feelings for Mishal, but she is cautious, and does not nurture any expectations. She has never deluded herself, not even about her son's father who slept with her and disappeared without even asking if she had gotten pregnant. Now, six years later he is a successful physician, married to a woman who is unable to bear children. He begins to show an interest in his son, and Zohara, lacking any bitterness or anger, agrees that the two meet. Magen tenderly describes the budding affair between Zohara and Mishal. As the richly sensuous affair progresses, an emotional bond grows between the two. At the same time Magen describes life on the hospital ward that cares mostly for the elderly, still eager to enjoy life and the world's beauty. Zohara notices one patient in particular, a terminal cancer patient. A religious and pure man, he accepts his fate in silence. The man dies, but all endings mark a new beginning — Zohara is about to become a mother for the second time.
An interesting, original, well-written book, certainly one of the best Hebrew novels I have read recently.
We come to admire the quiet, inconspicuous way in which [Magen] succeeds in breathing life into her characters... The reading does not feel like make-believe. Perhaps that is the charm of this unpretentious book. The secret of simplicity.
Weaves a fascinating story that takes the reader into the nooks and crannies of the soul of each character... A wonderful book.
English translation available (for publishers only)