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To the End of the Land (Vintage International)

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To the End of the Land (Vintage International) Cover

 

 

Reading Group Guide

1. What one word would you use to describe the central theme of this novel? Is it a political novel?

2. In an interview, Grossman said about grief, “The first feeling you have is one of exile. You are being exiled from everything you know.” How do both grief and exile figure into this story?

3. Throughout the novel is the notion of tapestry, of threads being woven. What does that tapestry signify?

4. What do you think was Grossman’s intent with the prologue? What did this opening lead you to expect from the rest of the novel? Was it significant to you as a reader, later in the story, to have known these characters as teenagers?

5. On page 22, Ora says, “I’m no good at saving people.” Why does she say this? Is it true?

6. What function does Sami serve in the novel? What do we learn about Ora through her interactions with him?

7. Why does Ora consider Ofer’s reenlistment to be a betrayal? Why do his whispered, on-camera instructions affect her so strongly?

8. Discuss Adam’s assertion that Ora is “an unnatural mother” (page 109). What do you think he means by that? What does Ora take it to mean?

9. On page 149, Ora tells Sami to drive “to where the country ends.” His reply: “For me it ended a long time ago.” What does he mean by that? How does this change your interpretation of the novel’s title?

10. What is the significance of Ofer’s film, in which there are no physical beings, only their shadows?

11. In both Adam and Ofer, the influence of nature vs. nurture seems quite fluid. How is each like his biological father, and how does each resemble the man to whom he is not related by blood?

12. What role does food play in the novel? What does vegetarianism, especially, signify?

13. On pages 319-320, Ora says to Avram, “Just remember that sometimes bad news is actually good news that you didn’t understand. Remember that what might have been bad news can turn into good news over time, perhaps the best news you need.” What is she hoping for here? Does her advice turn out to be accurate?

14. Why does Ora refuse to go back for her notebook? As a reader, could you identify with Ora’s actions? What about elsewhere in the novel?

15. What do we learn about Ora, Ilan, and Ofer through the story of Adam’s compulsive behavior? What is “the force of no” (page 450)?

16. Discuss the significance of whose name Ora draws from the hat. Did she choose that person intentionally? How might the lives of Ora, Ilan, and Avram have been different if the other name were drawn?

17. Why does Ora react so strongly to what happened with Ofer in Hebron? How does it relate to what happened to Avram as a POW? Why does her reaction lead to the implosion of her family?

18. When Ora says to Avram, “Maybe you’ll even have a girl” (page 647), what is she really saying?

19. Discuss the final scene of the novel. What does Avram’s vision signify? Was Ora’s motivation for the hike wrong, as she fears?

20. How did Grossman’s personal note at the end change your experience of the novel? What seems possible for Ora and Avram, and the other characters in the book, at the end of the story?

(For a complete list of available reading group guides, and to sign up for the Reading Group Center enewsletter, visit www.readinggroupcenter.com)

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Jan Askin, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by Jan Askin)
This is a highly personal narrative about a woman engaged in the magical thinking that if she takes a trek, she will be unavailable for potential bad news of her son. The reader revisits touchstones of her motherhood raising two sons and managing an imperfect marriage. This is also a political narrative. The reader learns through the context of the narrative the multiple ways that the current untenable state of the nation takes a toll on the Israeli citizen and even more so on the Israeli Arabs. As the mother of two sons, like the protagonist, I found this character's anguish both believable and painful.
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Miami reader, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Miami reader)
Beautifully written. Touching the soul. How does this man know so well how a mother feels? Certainly parenthood and family are exposed down to the nerves and bones. And the terror and fear of every parent, but especially of parenting in Israel -- from age 18 on they often live as if they are holding their breath. I have seen it and then the destruction that ensues, as it did to Grossman's own family, when the tragic happens because of the 'situation.' Grossman captures it without polemics -- just making the reader feel Ora's connection to Ofer and how she struggles to deal with the pain.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307476401
Author:
Grossman, David
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage International
Publication Date:
20110831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
672
Dimensions:
7.9 x 5.1 x 1.1 in 1.075 lb

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
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To the End of the Land (Vintage International) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$15.95 In Stock
Product details 672 pages Vintage Books - English 9780307476401 Reviews:
"Review" by , "This is a book of overwhelming power and intensity, David Grossman's masterpiece. Flaubert created his Emma, Tolstoy made his Anna, and now we have Grossman's Ora — as fully alive, as fully embodied, as any character in recent fiction. I devoured this long novel in a feverish trance. Wrenching, beautiful, unforgettable."
"Review" by , "Very rarely, a few times in a lifetime, you open a book and when you close it again nothing can ever be the same. Walls have been pulled down, barriers broken, a dimension of feeling, of existence itself, has opened in you that was not there before. To the End of the Land is a book of this magnitude. David Grossman may be the most gifted writer I've ever read; gifted not just because of his imagination, his energy, his originality, but because he has access to the unutterable, because he can look inside a person and discover the unique essence of her humanity. For twenty-six years he has been writing novels about what it means to defend this essence, this unique light, against a world designed to extinguish it. To the End of the Land is his most powerful, shattering, and unflinching story of this defense. To read it is to have yourself taken apart, undone, touched at the place of your own essence; it is to be turned back, as if after a long absence, into a human being."
"Review" by , "A masterpiece....One of the few novels that feel as though they have made a difference to the world."
"Review" by , "A boundary-pushing novel....Like all great literature, it is an act of generosity, opening itself to every human possibility....Grossman invites us to look beneath the shrill headlines, beyond the roadblocks, within the clenched fist
"Review" by , "Magnificent....A powerful meditation....Foremost among Grossman's achievements is the creation of Ora, a modern-day Scheherazade and icon of the mourning mother."
"Review" by , "Profound....A reminder of what Israel — what any country — is capable of doing to its sons."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
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