Yitzhak Orpaz's latest short stories are populated with middle-aged men trying to give meaning to their lives. In "Misunderstanding," Nathan, a Tel Aviv night-editor with an unexciting life, entertains himself with visions of the end of the world. In the story "Talitha Kumi," Yohanan Dvir, a small-time building contractor, is concerned about the fate of the universe. Nathan means to end his relationship with Nellie on its first anniversary, but is unable to maintain his resolve. As he blurts out his elegiac farewell he takes off his trousers, earning a kick in the groin from Nellie. In "A Marriage Proposal," Michael seeks to break off with his lover, Tina, on the eve of the 1947 United Nations vote on the partition of Palestine. Filled with a sense of history, he takes the day off work and puts on a new shirt. But Tina collapses and in order to revive her and not miss the broadcast, he proposes marriage.
Orpaz weds the trivial and the romantic, banality and eccentricity, and releases dry sparks of black humor....The need to hold on to something solid and the characters' religious and metaphysical meditations are illumined in an ironic light here, and Orpaz tends to show just how ridiculous and pathetic is man's attempt to give meaning to his life.
Novelist Gabriela Avigur-Rotem