Raphael Kalman, a painter who has achieved neither fame nor recognition, leaves his house, his wife and small daughter, and sets off on a dazed and desperate journey through Tel Aviv. Its seeming purpose is to find a notebook, but in fact this is a journey of self-assessment, during which Kalman examines his life, his failures and the hollow, passionless life he leads. During a day and a half, he wanders among friends and acquaintances-frustrated or burnt-out artists like himself who create inconsequential art on the margins of modern-day Tel Aviv. And all the while, the splendid disintegration of their-and his-world is outlined before his eyes, crumbling into isolated fragments of ceremonies and customs, beliefs and artistic intentions, dreams awakened and squashed to be replaced by others, yet containing also moments of grace.
Artisans' Center Street is Einat Yakir's second book. Her first, A Matter of Negotation, marked Yakir as a unique new voice in Israeli literature.
Hebrew poetry is not dead. It is majestically alive in this novel... A volcano has erupted in Israeli literature... Already on the first page, the story surges ahead. Its realism is like a Breughel painting. Its world is complex, ruthless, funny, aloof; full of nonsense, horror and laughter. And out of this, a breathtaking moment of redemption is born.
Einat Yakir's talent is almost satanic. Artisans' Center Street has the linguistic precision of a goldsmith bending over his table, and the book-from cover to cover-is a display of rare talent... Yakir is a mastermind of the existential and disintegrating.
As one turns the pages of this book, the great wonder of a literary take-off occurs: the wheels lift off the runway and suddenly we are in midair, gazing down with disbelief... An outstandingly talented writer.