Eight stories which date from the Sixties--and each a sort of novel-in-embryo. Six, including the best, ""A Hollow Stone,"" concern kibbutz life: the radiating circles of light--and unfriendly darkness (the everpresent jackals)--they project; the imperfect weld of personalities within; the clash of generations. A young paratrooper, the child of a famous theoretician's old age, is killed grotesquely on a power line when he tries to maneuver his chute closer to the kibbutz during an exhibition. An old widow cherishes plans for her dead husband's essays to be published. A young unmarried woman flirts with danger beyond the kibbutz fences. A not-quite-acclimated Tel Aviv woman (she still thinks in German) seduces her son-in-law-to-be, an obscure erotic victory over Levantine self-satisfaction. And a biblical story, ""Upon This Evil Earth,"" shows Oz in a different mood--but with the same poetry of the unexpected that makes his work so distinct. As you read, you feel yourself, in all these stories, sinking deeper into the loam of Oz's sensibility, a paradoxical mix of sensuality and disdain. A good collection by an important international writer.