After a silence of almost 30 years since Stories of a Plain, Yizhar reasserts his position as the greatest living master of Hebrew prose.
Strongly autobiographic, Preliminaries progresses frame by frame, showing a boy growing up in a Jewish farming community in Palestine and in the young city of Tel Aviv between the years 1917 and 1930. The boy's sensual experience, his almost primal grasp of the world, coalesces with the adult consciousness looking back, a kind of late return to the inner child. His growing-up is linked to the story of the land of Israel in the early days of Jewish agricultural settlement: the longing to create a new Jew, the harsh existence of the struggling community, the early clashes between Jews and Arabs. Yizhar's pictures are rich in sensual power, laden with scents and colors. But the real subject of Preliminaries is a child's discovery, in wonder and terror, of the concrete world around him. As he resurrects his childhood in the land of Israel, Yizhar also carries out a gentle stocktaking of renewed Jewish society.
One of the most beautiful childhood memories ever written. Neue Zuricher Zeitung
The interior monologue turns into great poetry about childhood and life... and the flow of the language bears testimony to the tremendous musicality. Der Tagesspiegel
Yizhar is inimitable as are all the great people. His writing is prophetic, imprecatory, tender , desperate and clear. L’Actualité religieuse
Reading Yizhar's Hebrew is like listening to a great violinist handling a Stradivarius. Jerusalem Report