This wide-ranging novel, one of the pinnacles of modern Hebrew literature, the fruit of Yehoshua's amazing imagination - takes place around 1998. At its center is a painful family story: Yohanan Ravlin, an Easterner, married to a Haifaite judge, has been tortured for five years in the mysterious affair of his son's divorce after a year Only one marriage, "without a real explanation". Since then the son seems to be stuck with his old love, unable to form a new relationship. What went wrong there and who is to blame? Were there early signs? The death of his former father-in-law, who owns a Jerusalem boarding house, spurs Rivlin to a continuous, invasive investigation (in contrast to the boundaries that his wife strictly observes), designed to trace the "truth" behind this sudden failure, in the hope that the full story (which in his opinion is not understood even by his son) will free the son from his tyranny . The fate of his son is mixed with the oriental professor with his own helplessness in the face of his faltering Algerian research. He does deal with the years full of hope and vision of the Algerian War of Liberation, but he is not clear about the early signs of the crazy and undiagnosed terrorism that is raging there now, in the 1990s. Here it is the present that "stabs" the story of the past. At the urging of Tedeschi, his long-time patron and PhD guide Kilo, Rivlin tries to spark a life-giving spark in his research through rare Algerian stories and songs.