“At school, there are those who are successful and good looking and those who are a bit pathetic. I am neither,” said Yehoshua Kenaz in an interview before his book was published. “I am the one on the sidelines, who watches and tells the story,” looking at the highfliers, but mostly at the suffering of the little guys. In the title story, he wasn’t allowed to join the school choir and more than fifty years later he still feels the hurt of being excluded. In other stories: a down-and-out waiter asks the narrator to lend him his apartment for an intimate tryst (just for an hour), because it is his only chance to experience love; a clerk hangs his death notice on the door of his office asking his colleagues not to make condolence visits; from his window, a young man sees a fellow student hang himself, but does nothing; a teacher whose students have humiliated him takes cruel and violent vengeance against the weakest child in the class.
Kenaz writes with his superb, well-known restraint about people’s indifference to the suffering of those not in the limelight.
Partial English translation available (for publishers only)
The stories in this new collection are perfect.
A new book by Yehoshua Kenaz is an event… Kenaz is Kenaz, with his penetrating gaze, and the blinding pain and alienation that envelop his heroes.
Kenaz…makes us witness the violence under way in the house next door.