The childhood tales in Tammuz’s first book are set in old Tel Aviv—then still a small town—and in a rural settlement south of it, during the time of the British Mandate. Tammuz harkens back nostalgically to the experiences of childhood, to purity, innocence and growing pains. It is a world in which childhood is seen as a lost paradise, a time when encounters are primal, and the power of imagination is stronger than reality. The stories portray a sensitive, introverted boy seen through the eyes of an adult narrator grieving for a world that has been destroyed. The child-artist faces the world armed with his innocence and the ability to take in the wonders of life--the marvels of nature, the magic of love. But in all of the stories we also find the contrast between the boy’s high sensitivity and the banality of the adult world of parents, teachers and shopkeepers. The clash between the two is what sets the lyrical, elegiac tone of the stories.
ENGLISH TRANSLATION AVAILABLE.
The great importance of these little tales lies in their difference from the conventional concept of the Israeli short story … There is no pathological chasing after sensations. Ostensibly modest trifles, which nonetheless feel authentic, are the subjects of these stories … Tammuz tells us about people the way that they [really] are, about childhood and youth … His eye uncovers something universally human for us.
Baruch Kurzweil, Haaretz, 24.11.50
Short stories that are clearly Israeli … The prose is clean, polished, rich, poetic and lyrical … The author introduces humorous and ironic notes of the finest kind ... “Horizon” is a typically Israeli tale but an excellent international one – original, colorful, rounded and rich, both lyrical and sarcastic – in short, an exemplary story … Tammuz is good at recounting memories, at reviving events after time has distilled them and they have reached a refined state.
Israel Zmora, Davar, 4.12.59
The impression made by the de luxe edition of Sands of Gold reaffirms the indubitable value of the short story … The economy [of style], self-control, clean humor and restrained lyricism – these are all the signs of the cultivation and refinement that won admiration and affection for Sands of Gold when it first appeared.
Dan Miron, Haaretz, 22.4.60