To the End of the Land (eBook)
To the End of the Land (eBook)
From one of Israel’s 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 Ofer’s 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.
Grossman’s rich imagining of a family in love and crisis makes for one of the great antiwar novels of our time.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
David Grossman was born in Jerusalem. He is the author of numerous works of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s literature. His work has appeared in The New Yorker and has been translated into thirty-six languages around the world. He is the recipient of many prizes, including the French Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the Buxtehuder Bulle in Germany, Rome’s Premio per la Pace e l’Azione Umitaria, the Premio Ischia—International Award for Journalism, Israel’s Emet Prize, and the Albatross Prize given by the Günter Grass Foundation.
Praise for To the End of the Land…
“A masterpiece. . . . One of the few novels that feel as though they have made a difference to the world.”
—Colm Tóibín, The New York Times Book Review
“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—to see Israel’s predicament not as ‘the situation’ but as many situations, one for every person.”
—The Washington Post
“Enthralling. . . . Unsparing yet compassionate . . . Grossman’s electrifying narrative seems excruciatingly timely. . . . Unforgettable. . . . The unstudied beauty and psychological complexity of Grossman’s language, his deft and lively dialogue, are utterly compelling. . . . Rendered in Jessica Cohen’s exquisite translation, Grossman’s symphonic novel straddles despair and hope, a journey into inner and outer landscapes, delivering stunning rewards.”
—The Miami Herald
“Magnificent. . . . A powerful meditation. . . . Foremost among Grossman’s achievements is the creation of Ora, a modern-day Scheherazade and icon of the mourning mother.”
—The Seattle Times
“Grossman’s greatest fictional creation [is] Ora: tender, passionate, angry, funny, self-doubting, intuitive, above all a woman of ‘abundance.’ . . . [Her story] encompasses both the complex fullness of one life and the broader history of Israel’s modern conflicts. . . . This most Israeli of Grossman’s novels is also his most universal.”
—George Packer, The New Yorker
“A tour de force. . . . Unforgettable. . . . [Grossman’s] best.”
“Penetrating. . . . Grossman has produced a sprawling novel that stretches over nearly 35 years of Israeli history. Along with war and peace, life and death, Grossman reckons with the emotional and sexual geometry of Israelis, particularly the secular liberals now in middle age, much like their author.”
“This is a story of love and friendship, family and society, parents and children, life and death. And war and peace. . . . Whether lushly descriptive, emotive or narrative, Grossman’s writing is both controlled and passionate. . . . Ora’s voice is authentic and true, honed to perfection.”
—Chicago Jewish Star
“Profound. . . . A reminder of what Israel—what any country—is capable of doing to its sons.”
—The Boston Globe
“There are some writers in whose words one recognizes the texture of life. David Grossman is such a writer. He is a master of the emotionally accurate and significant. His characters don’t so much lie on the page as rise before the reader’s eyes, in three dimensions, their skin covered in prose that both stabs with insight and shines with compassion.”
—Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi
“Moving. . . . A convincing portrait of maternal grit and ingenuity in a time and place of relentless challenge. . . . In this powerful book, there are surprising answers of a kind, but the ongoing strife goes on.”
—The Washington Times
“Very rarely 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 has opened in you that was not there before. David Grossman has the ability to look inside a person and discover the unique essence of her humanity; his novels are about what it means to defend this essence against a world designed to extinguish it. To the End of the Land is his most powerful, unflinching story of this defense.”
—Nicole Krauss, author of The History of Love
“A courageous and powerful antiwar novel.”
—Kansas City Star
“Grossman’s most ambitious work to date. . . . His imagination is secular, worldly, self-questioning and ironic. The Israel he imagines, beautifully and sorrowfully, is not going to be saved by any divine intervention.”
“Bold and uncompromising, this great emotional rush of a story sings and cries, exults and mourns.”
“An extraordinary epic of love, war, and sorrow. . . . Stunning—brilliantly written and beautifully constructed.”
—The Times (London)
“A deeply serious, utterly honest work about the state of Israel.”
“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.”
—Paul Auster, author of Invisible