In this new novel, as in the others Yizhar has published in recent years, the author returns to the scenes of his youth. An Eretz Israel lad, naive, shy, a dreamer, falls in love with the captivating, admired Shula. At the height of their hesitant, cautious courtship, the two go out into the fields, sit among the insects and birds and classify the plants around them by means of the 1931 Handbook of Eretz Israel Flora. The quote from Beckett's Text About Nothing hints that the outer plot is secondary, and what matters is the recollection of youth, a world of pure love, longing and dreamy passion, nature's world of scents, colors and sounds. Yizhar's style is unique. The marvellous richness of the language of this greatest of Hebrew prose-writers interweaves the desires and thoughts of the love-struck youth and descriptions of the beloved Shula, with sensual depictions of the surrounding natural scene. Thus the story of the romantic youth becomes the story of Eretz Israel in its primary, virginal state, which Yizhar resurrects in his thrilling prose.
The Malcolmia cultivated in this book is indeed beautiful and stirring. Not an easy plant to spot and classify, it requires a special kind of reading.
Yizhar must be followed on his own path, with his excitement, his rapture, his impudent telling of things.