A merciless literary critic may seem like a demonic
figure to a writer anxiously awaiting the ultimate critical
review of his work. Such is the plight of Kalman
Keren, a writer who lives in an apartment building in
Tel Aviv. When Keren notices Professor Shatz coming
up the stairs of his building he almost goes into shock.
Shatz is the hated literary critic who is every writerís
nightmare, and now he and his wife have moved into
the apartment above Kerenís!
Kerenís last novel was highly acclaimed by other
critics, yet Shatz wrote not a single word about it. This
disregard was far worse for Keren than any possible
criticism. Keren, familiar with French culture and busy
translating FranÁois Rabelaisí classics, Gargantua and
Pantagruel, has a megalomaniac dream of writing the
ultimate book, the masterpiece of all time. Only 22
pages have been written of the anticipated thousand
page volume, but now that Shatz is disturbing Kerenís
nights with incessant banging on his typewriter, the author
knows that he will no longer be able to write, and
that he is doomed to suffer eternal writerís block.
At least his love life takes an exciting turn. Keren,
divorced, falls in love with Naomi, Professor Shatzís
lovely wife, who it turns out, does love Kerenís work:
Sweet revenge! Naomi leaves her abusive husband to
join Keren, and the two set off to celebrate their love
in the countryside.
Originally published as Ha-Gamal Ha-Meofef Ve-
Dabeshet Ha-Zahav, this witty and intelligent satire
of the writer-critic relationship is translated by Vivian
About the Author
AHARON MEGGED has been publishing since 1938. His fiction has won
numerous awards, including the Koret Prize and the French Wizo prize for
Foiglman, which was also selected for the Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers
Program. He has also been awarded the Bialik, Brenner, and Agnon Prizes, and
most recently, the coveted Israel Prize in 2003. He lives in Tel Aviv.