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To the End of the Landby David Grossman
Synopses & Reviews
From one of Israels most acclaimed writers comes a novel of extraordinary power about family life—the greatest human drama—and the cost of war.
Ora, a middle-aged Israeli mother, is on the verge of celebrating her son Ofers release from army service when he returns to the front for a major offensive. In a fit of preemptive grief and magical thinking, she sets out for a hike in the Galilee, leaving no forwarding information for the “notifiers” who might darken her door with the worst possible news. Recently estranged from her husband, Ilan, she drags along an unlikely companion: their former best friend and her former lover Avram, once a brilliant artistic spirit. Avram served in the army alongside Ilan when they were young, but their lives were forever changed one weekend when the two jokingly had Ora draw lots to see which of them would get the few days leave being offered by their commander—a chance act that sent Avram into Egpyt and the Yom Kippur War, where he was brutally tortured as POW. In the aftermath, a virtual hermit, he refused to keep in touch with the family and has never met the boy. Now, as Ora and Avram sleep out in the hills, ford rivers, and cross valleys, avoiding all news from the front, she gives him the gift of Ofer, word by word; she supplies the whole story of her motherhood, a retelling that keeps Ofer very much alive for Ora and for the reader, and opens Avram to human bonds undreamed of in his broken world. Their walk has a “war and peace” rhythm, as their conversation places the most hideous trials of war next to the joys and anguish of raising children. Never have we seen so clearly the reality and surreality of daily life in Israel, the currents of ambivalence about war within one household, and the burdens that fall on each generation anew.
Grossmans rich imagining of a family in love and crisis makes for one of the great antiwar novels of our time.
"Israeli novelist Grossman returns with an epic yet intimate story of an Israeli family and the shadow of war that haunts it. A love triangle between Ora, Avram, and Ilan ends when Avram returns to war, and Ora settles down with Ilan to raise two sons. But when her youngest is called to duty, Ora flees for Galilee, dragging with her Avram, who, deeply scared by his experience as a POW during the Yom Kippur War, has refused contact with her for years. Their shared history poignantly reveals the way conflict, war, and the loss of humanity have traumatized generations of people living in this region. Grossman, whose own soldier son was killed during the writing of this novel, connects a wide-reaching canvas of battles and bombings to the intimate realities of the relationships among family and friends. Although the atmosphere of paranoia and the flood of details can overwhelm, they also connect the reader to the characters so hypnotically that this nearly 600-page literary novel reads like a thriller. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
A portrait of a fictional village, by one of the worlds most admired writers In the village of Tel Ilan, something is off kilter. An elderly man complains to his daughter that he hears the sound of digging under his house at night. Could it be his tenant, a young Arab? But then the tenant hears the mysterious digging sounds too. The mayor receives a note from his wife: "Dont worry about me." He looks all over, no sign of her. The veneer of new wealth around the villagegourmet restaurants and art galleries, a winerycannot conceal abandoned outbuildings, disused air raid shelters, rusting farm tools, and trucks left wherever they stopped. Amos Ozs novel-in-stories is a brilliant, unsettling glimpse of what goes on beneath the surface of everyday life.Scenes from Village Lifeis a parable for Israel, and for all of us.
A novel of extraordinary power about the costs of war from one of Israel’s greatest writers.
Ora is about to celebrate her son Ofer’s release from Israeli army service when he voluntarily rejoins. In a fit of magical thinking, she takes off to hike in the Galilee, leaving no forwarding information for the “notifiers” who might deliver the worst news a parent can hear. Recently estranged from her husband, she drags along an unlikely companion: their once best friend Avram, who was tortured as a POW during the Yom Kippur War and, in his brokenness, refused to ever know the boy or even to keep in touch with them.
Now, as they hike, Ora unfurls the story of her motherhood and initiates the lonely Avram in the drama of the human family—a telling that keeps Ofer alive for both his mother and the reader. Her story places the most hideous trials of war alongside the daily joys and anguish of raising children: never have we seen so clearly the reality and surreality of daily life in Israel, the currents of ambivalence about war within one household, the burdens that fall on each generation anew.
Grossman’s rich imagining of a family in love and crisis makes for one of the great antiwar novels of our time.
About the Author
David Grossman was born in Jerusalem. He is the author of numerous works of fiction, nonfiction, and childrens literature. His work has appeared in The New Yorker and has been translated into thirty languages around the world. He is the recipient of many prizes, including the French Chevalier de lOrdre des Arts et des Lettres, the Buxtehuder Bulle in Germany, Romes Premio per la Pace e lAzione Umitaria, the Premio Ischia— International Award for Journalism, Israels Emet Prize, and the Albatross Prize given by the Günter Grass Foundation.
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