In July 1947 when Emmi and her young brother Erni arrive at the kibbutz outside Haifa, Palestine is still under British mandate. Emmi, a talented 17 year old pianist, and Erni, a spoiled brat of indeterminable age, think of themselves as German despite their father's death at Auschwitz and Hitler's systematic annihilation of the Jews. Both live with the fantasy of returning home to their beloved Erlangen. Life in the kibbutz is primitive and reclaiming the desert is hard work. Jews of all nations work together for the dreams of a homeland, but the dream escapes Emmi because she will not see it. As a musician uses counterpoint, Mrs. Nurenberg writes of various characters interacting upon each other in a situation which culminates in the creation of Israel as a nation and ends upon a note of optimism. It is a hard-hitting, realistic novel of people living in a world of hate and fear, but they refuse to give up hope. Along the way, some of the most likeable characters who people the story are killed by Arab bullets, and Shimon, a learned jurist who survived the concentration camp, is caught as an illegal immigrant and sent back. For all its heart-breaking scenes, the book renews that sense of wonder at the strength mankind possesses.