This tale of an awkward Israeli widower and his misadventures with women is an “extraordinary novel . . . a masterpiece” (Los Angeles Times).
After seven long years of illness, Molkho’s wife passes, leaving him in mourning, but also with an unexpected sense of freedom. No longer is he bound to being a caretaker for a woman too sick to even bear his touch. His future—and his desires—are his own.
As the seasons of his life propel the hapless middle-aged accountant through a series of journeys and a string of infatuations—with an unwanted wife, an aggressive bureaucrat, a young girl, and a Russian émigré—Molkho begins to find the real element that was missing in his life was not romance, but his own will.
An absurd, tragic, humorous, and hopeful meditation on love, marriage, and the quiet struggles of average Israeli lives, Five Seasons “reconfirms [A. B. Yehoshua’s] status as a shrewd analyst of domestic ordeals” (Publishers Weekly).
If not as kinetic and intricate as A Late Divorce , the author's daring treatment of nine frenzied days in the life of a troubled Israeli family, Yehoshua's latest novel reconfirms his status as a shrewd analyst of domestic ordeals. Neatly and leisurely divided into ``five seasons'' following the death of the protagonist's wife of 30 years, this is a genuine and elegant portrait of a widower, Molkho, a middle-aged Sephardi, like his creator, and his heartfelt grief and painfully awkward readjustment to life as a single person. A passive, frugal civil servant obsessed with bodily functions and malfunctions, who diligently and celibately cared for his wife through a long illness, Molkho is a straight man, vulnerably ripe for absurd romantic entanglements. He is variously infatuated with or fancied by the barren, fey cast-off wife of a ``born-again'' Orthodox Jew; an aggressive lawyer, who is senior to him on the bureaucratic ladder; an Indian girl in a development town; and a Russian emigre Molkho helps to repatriate. Although much here is universally applicable, Yehoshua continues to advance his vision of Israel as the necessary, if chaotic and problematic, receptacle of the scattered remnants of world Jewry.