Small Change: A Collection of Stories
In this delicately structured and psychologically rigorous short story collection, Yehudit Hendel maps out a shadow land between life and death, the mundane and the fantastic. These eight stories, which should be read as a cycle, offer variations on the themes of loneliness, family ties, obsession, and regret in contemporary Israel. In “The Letter That Came in Time,” the setting is the shivah for an anthropologist. Through a series of tension-filled conversations among the deceased’s family and colleagues, Hendel subtly reveals the complexity of numerous relationships. “Low, Close to the Floor,” concerns a man—twice married and now dying—wracked with the pain of deciding by which wife he should be buried. “My Friend B’s Feast” depicts the final supper of a woman dying of cancer. The title story, “Small Change,” is a truly horrifying look into the paranoid mind of an Israeli woman and her troubled relationship with her father. Hendel’s close attention to detail, the spareness of her writing, and her utter lack of sentimentality create a fantastic world of emotions which seem heightened and supressed at the same time. Small Change offers a compelling introduction to one of modern Israel’s finest women writers.