Literary editors wield power that writers sometimes perceive to be directed against them. Aharon Megged`s novella satirizes the relationship between the writer, a veteran
translator of classical Greek poetry, and an assertive young woman just appointed editor of her firm`s translation department. But as always where Megged is concerned, the idea is far more complex, as the satirical barbs are aimed at the entire literary establishment, and the debased prestige of culture in the post-modern era.
Yotam, the protagonist, is convinced that the whole world, including his wife, is against him, and people will do whatever they can to trample him underfoot. This feeling gains strength to the extent that it clouds Yotam`s sanity, dragging him into extreme measures that make him appear pathetic and ridiculous. Not that he is unaware of his latent violence that contradicts the nerdish persona of a respected translator of the classics, an occupation designed to shield him from friction with the hostile environment. But as we know, classical literature is full of passionate, vengeful heroes impelled to violent deeds that bring disaster on their own heads. This is what finally happens to Yotam, though he is far from a hero.
Yotam, who lives with a perpetual sense of having missed out, is married to an internationally-known psychologist. He tags along with her to professional conventions, on one occasion to Holland and on another to Tubingen in Germany, where the renowned poet Holderlin ended his life in stark madness. Madness lies in wait for Yotam, too: after the new editor rejects his translations, he decides to set out in pursuit of revenge like Kleist`s Michael Kohlhaas. This, however, becomes a quixotic lunatic journey in which he is run over by representatives of the crude, violent Israeli street, who use the language of violence better than he does.