Though many of the stories in this collection are based on historical events, they turn into erudite explorations of metaphysical questions. The play Winter Rite takes place in Paris in 1945, after the liberation of France. The playwright's wife turns up after years in a concentration camp. He is living with another woman and no longer loves her. The stage manager, three musicians and two Greek gods intervene and debate good and evil, responsibility and guilt. The text brims with literary allusion, cultural and historical anecdotes and mythical references.
Another story is set in Tel Aviv of the 1930s. Three people meet for a house-warming on the hundredth birthday of the poet Pushkin. The Hebrew poet Shaul Tchernichovsky is an unexpected guest and the story becomes an enlightening exposure of one of the giants of modern Hebrew literature.
Allusions are often stylistic whims or the conceit of the educated man, but with Tsalka they are the expression of a worldview.
Depth, wit and complex thought. His pictures are mosaics of historical scenery and spiritual states, adding up as man's inheritance of little bits of broken worlds. [The author's] craft is superb, uplifting.
Dina Ben-Zion Katan