'It was then that I realised I would never have children. For to have children you must have something to hand on. Either that or the fervour of beginning. I possessed no such fervour; and how could you hand on something when you are floating in a void? All I could give would be memories and longing, a sense of dislocation, a source of pain.'
At the centre are a couple of love affairs (hers and her father's) which have dictated the course of the Shulamit's life; and the book is, in some ways, a study and exploration of this too. I like the way an almost biblical (and sometimes an actually biblical) traditional narrative gradually merges with the modern day. Distant times eventually become the familiar events of recent history, and this helped me identify with the characters as the book proceeded. The story centres around the discovery of a codex; but this in itself is unimportant. It is the effect of the codex on the family that counts, and the way that discovery can shape and perturb. At the end of it I feel I have learnt a lot: about Jewish history; and also what it feels like to be dislocated and displaced.
Apart from doing a little housework all I have done is sat here and read. A very indulgent Sunday.