The story takes place during a long, tormented summer in the lives of the tenants of a rundown apartment house in Tel Aviv, depicting their slow mental and physical disintegration. The characters include Zion the taxi driver, the submissive half-wit Shmulik and their wives, Dr. S. and Ilse S., immigrants from Germany, a gentle bachelor known as "the Hungarian," and Blind Rosa who seeks fulfillment in the streets. Malka, Shmulik's wife, in her stupor and vacuity represents the earthly embodiment of the dream woman of the title. She is both a haven of security and a source of torment. The horror of the situation in which these characters are trapped stems in particular from their being such ordinary people, and it is their very banality that gives this novel its tragic impact.
While clearly part of the contemporary Israeli writing scene, Kenaz's prose remains distinctive.
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Kenaz is one of Israel’s great writers… For the media, Israel is only a place of conflict. By contrast, in Kenaz’s novels, it is something very different: people live a normal daily life… A home for the elderly, a condo, a modest living room. And the intimate space becomes an animated scene of feelings and adventures.
This major figure of Israeli letters once again portrays the inner world of people who are strangers to the world around them… His focus is pitiless and spot on as he portrays a society torn by social and ethnic tension. Kenaz reminds one of Caldwell, Faulkner and Kafka… He is an artist of dialogue and ellipsis.
Le Figaro litteraire
In Great Woman, hallucinations become reality and each man becomes his neighbor’s executioner. Kenaz is ruthlessly clear-sighted… and yet shows real compassion.