The subtle personal relationships in the Orthodox Jewish community of Jerusalem are the theme in this collection of stories. In this intense society every gesture is part of a ritual and the slightest variation – an overly direct glance in a darkening stairwell at dusk, a piece of cake wrapped more deliberately than is customary – can indicate a momentous change for one of the characters. In "Gerberas at Half-Price," a secular woman leaving a fashionable café sees an elderly Orthodox woman on her way home before the Sabbath. The peacefulness she senses in this image impels her to leave her husband and modern lifestyle to join an Orthodox community. Details are of the essence here, and Magen is highly selective; nothing is added to prettify or dilute the sharp insights. Many of her characters are women, young or old, often women who have been disappointed in love. Magen delves deeply into their souls, revealing the struggles between their passions and the religious codes they live by.
We should applaud and rejoice in the outstanding, mature and unforgettable talent revealed in Mira Magen's first collection of stories.
Critic Avner Holtzman
Magen is a writer of extraordinary talent.
This is interesting and rare writing....These stories are beautiful, flowing; they reveal talent and mastery.
Selected stories available in English translation (for publishers only)