Shin Shifra's stories concern the recreation of the past - Eretz Israel in the shadow of World War II and immediately after. In the title story, the narrator recalls a childhood friend and obsessively pieces together remembered fragments - a coffee ritual in his "haunted" house, the sounds of an old gramophone. Sand, a symbol of instability, and earth, symbolizing solidity, are key images in such stories as "The Night of the Kid." An Arab woman, unhappy in her secure life, gives birth to an ill baby. As his condition worsens, the neighbors employ a variety of superstitious remedies. Shifra leads her women narrators through the fading images of the past, and the realization that time slowly erases memory.
The beauty of the place she remembers leads the narrator to cling to the past she depicts with such wonderful artistry.
Their hidden mythological aspect elevates these stories from the temporary and local, lending them a universal and timeless quality.
The lyrical passages preserve the scent of the past.
Critic Anat Shpitzan