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Lion's Honey: The Myth of Samsonby David Grossman
Synopses & Reviews
"Yet, beyond the wild impulsiveness, the chaos, the din, we can make out a life story that is, at bottom, the tortured journey of a single, lonely and turbulent soul who never found, anywhere, a true home in the world, whose very body was a harsh place of exile. For me, this discovery, this recognition, is the point at which the myth — for all its grand images, its larger-than-life adventures — slips silently into the day-to-day existence of each of us, into our most private moments, our buried secrets." — from David Grossman's introduction to Lion's Honey
Israel's most lauded contemporary writer retells the myth of Samson, one of the most tempestuous, charismatic, and colorful characters in the Hebrew Bible. There are few other Bible stories with so much drama and action, narrative fireworks and raw emotion, as we find in the tale of Samson: the battle with the lion; the three hundred burning foxes; the women he bedded and the one woman that he loved; his betrayal by all the women in his life, from his mother to Delilah; and, in the end, his murderous suicide, when he brought the house down on himself and three thousand Philistines.
"Samson, the biblical strongman whose strength lay in his long hair, has long been viewed as a hero. Before his birth, an angel told his mother that her child would be consecrated to God and save his people. But his is a strange and tragic story. Only in defeat, after his duplicitous lover Delilah cuts off his tresses and hands him over to his enemies, can he fulfill the prophecy and bring down the Philistine temple, killing himself and his captors. Acclaimed Israeli novelist Grossman (The Body) revisits the story in Canongate's series the Myths. He views Samson as an impulsive, lonely, failed man. Grossman's consideration falls squarely into the Jewish tradition of biblical exegesis, imparting both psychological and literary meaning to the story. His mastery of the Hebrew allows for depths of consideration not available to anyone working with a translation. But his reading of Samson is oddly contradictory: on the one hand, he insists that Samson is a man controlled by outside forces; on the other, that deep psychological needs drive him to self-destructive behavior. In the end, Grossman refuses to entertain the most glaring possibility the myth opens up: that only in his failure can Samson succeed and fulfill his life's mission." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"David Grossman is both a fine novelist and a leading Israeli reporter and commentator, but this slim book finds him instead in the role of biblical parser, deconstructing the story of Samson line by line, even word by word." Providence Journal
"His journey takes us to the heart of ourselves, in this millennia-old creation of a man like Oedipus whose tragedy was that his own predestined story was too big for his soul to bear." The Independent (U.K.)
"Some might object to a psychological deconstruction of a story never intended to relate to an individual character, but Grossman's engaging approach is certainly successful in keeping an ancient myth alive." The Metro
"Grossman's approach to the story in Lion's Heart is one of close analysis, textual and psychological. His tone is both informal and didactic, the result both enriching and entertaining." Times Literary Supplement (U.K.)
Israel's most lauded contemporary writer retells the myths of Samson, one of the most tempestuous, charismatic, and colorful characters in the Hebrew bible ... turbulent, raw, and brimming with drama. Part of Canongate's heralded Myths series.
About the Author
David Grossman is one of Israel's leading writers. His award-winning novels include See Under: Love, The Book of Intimate Grammar, and The Zigzag Kid, and two powerful accounts of his encounters with Palestinians, The Yellow Wind and Sleeping on a Wire, as well as a number of children's books and a play.
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