As the Germans advance into Poland in 1939, Elisha Pomeranz, a Jewish mathematician and watchmaker, escapes into the wintry forest, leaving behind his beautiful, intelligent wife, Stefa. After the war, having evaded the concentration camps, they begin to build new lives - Stefa in Stalin's Russia and Elisha in Israel, where, as they seek their reunion, another war is brewing.
Publisher and industry reviews
UK Kirkus review
Written in 1972, this haunting story tells the tale of Pomeranz, an imaginative mathematics teacher and his beautiful, intellectual wife, Stefa. Both Polish Jews, in 1939 Pomeranz flees their home in the face of the German advance. Less apprehensive and feeling she is Jewish "only up to a point", Stefa remains determinedly behind, soon to discover her secret hope that war will bring a refreshed Europe is shockingly misconceived. Charting his protagonists' separate journeys, Amos Oz yields not so much a work of fiction as a metaphysical exploration of human existence within the framework of a novella. An author of international acclaim, themes of guilt and persecution are at the heart of Professor Oz's writings and nobody better observes the descent into casual brutishness that characterized Nazi anti-semitism. Rich in metaphor and symbolism, full of exquisite irony, here is a welcome new edition of a work that remains timelessly relevant. (Kirkus UK)