A flickering, multi-toned Israeli novel which grapples with time's incursions, love's deceptions, and the diminishment of desire. Hannah Gonen, married to Michael, a geology professor, and mother of a young son, tells her story as throughout she strains toward truths denied. A hint or clue to possibility commands investigation; a chance slip on the stairs can precipitate a marriage. But Michael is a good; patient, admirable bore who endures while his son grows like him, seeing time ""as a series of neat blocks,"" life to be simply lived, not for anything. And Hannah -- pressed by the past, by dreams, and by erotic fantasies -- restlessly moves within a self-enclosed, self-determined housewife's world where a lovely to-menacing Jerusalem is seen mainly through apartment windows. She observes her marriage with Michael where love has become manageable and tidy as the blanket folded between them. She feels she has been ""rehearsing a complicated role which I shall have to act out. . . . Packing. Preparing. Practicing. When will the journey begin. . . ."" This story has a contemporary bitterness reflecting the new inwardness in Israeli writing as well as a universal concern with the validity of lives measured by soup ladles and bus routes.