The book is an autobiography, written in a unique style. Amos Oz goes through his life story, starting with his childhood years, which he passed in the period the great founders of the state of Israel; through his time as a youth and a young man in Kibbutz Hulda; and until he moved to the city of Arad. The special thing about this book is that it is not just another autobiography. For starters, it's written in the form of a novel (reminiscent of "Live to tell" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and perhaps even the "Confessions" by Rousso), filled with descriptions of the author's own feelings and those of others. Another thing which makes this book unique is that in a certain respect it is a novel on the way the State of Israel has grown and matured. One gets the feeling that Oz insists on describing each and every detail and significant event in his life, in such a way that it is related to other parts of the book. In the book he tells of the families of his father and mother, who came to Israel from Europe in the begining of the 20th century; of his encounters and relationship with the great author S.Y. Agnon; of his relationship with his uncle, the famous Prof. Yosef Klauzner; and of his intimate meeting with David Ben-Gurion.
Alongside these tales of great figures of the founders' generation of Israel and of their customs, Oz tells the story of his own, highly educated, father and mother. His father used to be a librarian in the National Library, and throughout his life tried to build a career as a writer and philosopher, to no avail. His mother, a very sensitive, romantic and fragile women, would fall into periods of depression, until finally commiting suicide, when Oz was only 12 years old. All these details, encounters, events, feelings and illusions - are spread throughout the book, not necessarily in chronological order. This takes the reader through a kind of a swim within Oz's soul, diving into it's darkest and most mysterious places. When Oz was nominated with the prestigious Goethe award (awarded once in three years, and previously given to Freud and Herman Hesse) in 2005, it was for all his works, with a special emphasis on this book.