Tzalhavim continues the autobiographical tale begun in Mikdamot, bringing the protagonist to adolescence. The novel describes one afternoon spent by three teenage boys (one is the author, nicknamed "Creature") in a tangerine grove, in a pioneering agricultural settlement in the early 1930s. In the course of the hot, tranquil afternoon the boys talk about films, school, their ambitions and about being the children of pioneers. All the great Yizhar motifs are here: the dilemma between what one owes to oneself and what one owes the collective; the erotic connection to nature; the ambivalent relation between fathers and sons; the collective stream of consciousness.
Enraptured by nature and at one with it in a kind of mystical fusion of self and world, Yizhar grieves for the lost paradise where the early Zionist settlers experienced a primal link to the land. He also continues to settle accounts with Zionist ideology.
I love this book. It is warm and wise, it is painting and music. It is full of epiphanic moments when the world speaks without intermediary. One just does not see things like this any more... Every line here is erotic: the way the sky touches the earth, the sea, the sand, the light on the branches... It is all immersed in a flood of sensual ecstasy of sounds and colors, as if the act of writing sought to subdue every grain of sand in waterfalls of words.
Author Amos Oz