To the End of the Land by David Grossman (A Review by John Purcell)

I started to read To the End of the Land by David Grossman and immediately recognised I was in the hands of an exceptional writer.

The prologue is a very fine piece of writing. It reminds me of the best of Russell Hoban and Gunter Grass. Dark and strange, haunting. I read line after line not knowing where I was going but confident that Grossman was beside me, ready to catch me should I stumble.

I knew he would not stumble.

There is no greater gift a writer can give a reader than confidence in their ability to take us all the way to the very end of their tale. Especially, as in this case, if you suspect the story will take you far… well out of your comfort zone.

Beyond the prologue a vast complicated world opens up.

There is noise and divorce, Arab/Israeli tension, sweat, miscommunication, suspicion, regret, loss, fear… and love. A love too strong, overwhelming, a love of a mother for her child, a love that is cruel in it’s intensity and therefore suspect, questioned, avoided and despaired of.

Grossman gives us a glimpse of an Israel that is complicated, self-consciously so – not one character can think, let alone speak without finding themselves entangled in hundreds of associated thoughts – of history, so much history, of religion, of past wrongs, of future wrongs, of hope and of resignation.

There is nothing new and clean and uncomplicated in this Israel, it is as intense as the relationship between mother and child, with no place to breathe and nowhere to escape to.

To the End of the Land is dark and intense but it is also compelling, gripping and well worth every lost illusion.

This is not easy reading, but then, when did anything good come easily?

Order here…

To The End Of The Land by David Grossman

I started reading To The End Of The Land by David Grossman on the weekend.

I feel a review coming on. This is the kinda book I’ve been looking for.

Solid. Got lots of words. Confident. Evocative.

I feel safe in his hands and will follow where he leads…

Of course, I may be wrong. I’ve only just begun. But what a beginning! Unusual, dark and profound.

It’s out in hardcover in the USA but we (I mean you…ha! I have my advance reading copy…) have to wait until 1st November 2010 for the Australian paperback. (Buy the US hardcover here.) Pre-order the paperback here. (As always, our cover is better)

I’ll let you know what I think of the book properly, when I’m done.

Here’s how the publisher sells it:

A masterpiece about an Israeli mother and son and the costs of war, and a profound contribution to the literature of modern life.

Ora is about to celebrate her son Ofer’s release from Israeli army service when he voluntarily rejoins his unit for a major offensive. In a fit of magical thinking, she takes off to hike in the Galilee, leaving no forwarding information for the ‘notifiers’ who might darken her door. This is comforting logic: if she cannot be told of Ofer’s death, he must remain alive.

Recently estranged from her husband Ilan, she drags along an unlikely companion: their once best friend Continue reading

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