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To the End of the Land

Cover of To the End of the Land

To the End of the Land

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A major, internationally bestselling novel of extraordinary power about the costs of war from one of Israel's greatest writers.

Set in Israel in recent times, this epic yet intimate novel places side by side the trials of war and the challenges of everyday life. Through a series of powerful, overlapping circles backward in time, it tells the story of Ora's relationship with her husband, from whom she is now separated, as well as the tragedy of their best friend Avram, a former soldier -- and her son's biological father. When her son Ofer rejoins the army for a major offensive, Ora is devastated and decides to hike in the Galilee, leaving no forwarding information for the "notifiers" who might deliver the worst news a parent can hear. She phones Avram, whom she has not seen in 21 years, and convinces him to go with her. As they journey together, Ora unfurls the story of her family, and gives Avram the gift of his son -- a telling that keeps the boy alive for both his mother and the reader.

Never have we seen so vividly the surreality of daily life in Israel, the consequences of living in a society where the burden of war falls on each generation anew. David Grossman's rich imagining of a family in love and crisis makes for one of the great anti-war novels of our time.

From the Hardcover edition.

A major, internationally bestselling novel of extraordinary power about the costs of war from one of Israel's greatest writers.

Set in Israel in recent times, this epic yet intimate novel places side by side the trials of war and the challenges of everyday life. Through a series of powerful, overlapping circles backward in time, it tells the story of Ora's relationship with her husband, from whom she is now separated, as well as the tragedy of their best friend Avram, a former soldier -- and her son's biological father. When her son Ofer rejoins the army for a major offensive, Ora is devastated and decides to hike in the Galilee, leaving no forwarding information for the "notifiers" who might deliver the worst news a parent can hear. She phones Avram, whom she has not seen in 21 years, and convinces him to go with her. As they journey together, Ora unfurls the story of her family, and gives Avram the gift of his son -- a telling that keeps the boy alive for both his mother and the reader.

Never have we seen so vividly the surreality of daily life in Israel, the consequences of living in a society where the burden of war falls on each generation anew. David Grossman's rich imagining of a family in love and crisis makes for one of the great anti-war novels of our time.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    HEY, GIRL, quiet!

    Who is that?

    Be quiet! You woke everyone up!

    But I was holding her

    Who?

    On the rock, we were sitting together

    What rock are you talking about? Let us sleep

    Then she just fell

    All this shouting and singing

    But I was asleep

    And you were shouting!

    She just let go of my hand and fell

    Stop it, go to sleep

    Turn on a light

    Are you crazy? They'll kill us if we do that

    Wait

    What?

    I was singing?

    Singing, shouting, everything. Now be quiet

    What was I singing?

    What were you singing?!

    In my sleep, what was I singing?

    I'm supposed to know what you were singing? A bunch of shouts.

    That's what you were singing. What was I singing, she wants to know . . .

    You don't remember the song?

    Look, are you nuts? I'm barely alive

    But who are you?

    Room Three

    You're in isolation, too?

    Gotta get back

    Don't go . . . Did you leave? Wait, hello . . . Gone . . . But what was I singing?

    AND the next night he woke her up again, angry at her again for singing at the top of her lungs and waking up the whole hospital, and she begged him to try to remember if it was the same song from the night before. She was desperate to know, because of her dream, which kept getting dreamed almost every night during those years. An utterly white dream. Everything in it was white, the streets and the houses and the trees and the cats and dogs and the rock at the edge of the cliff. And Ada, her redheaded friend, was also entirely white, without a drop of blood in her face or body. Without a drop of color in her hair. But he couldn't remember which song it was this time, either. His whole body was shuddering, and she shuddered back at him from her bed. We're like a pair of castanets, he said, and to her surprise, she burst out with bright laughter that tickled him inside. He had used up all his strength on the journey from his room to hers, thirty-five steps, resting after each one, holding on to walls, doorframes, empty food carts. Now he flopped onto the sticky linoleum floor in her doorway. For several minutes they both breathed heavily. He wanted to make her laugh again but he could no longer speak, and then he must have fallen asleep, until her voice woke him.

    Tell me something

    What? Who is it?

    It's me

    You . . .

    Tell me, am I alone in this room?

    How should I know?

    Are you, like, shivering?

    Yeah, shivering

    How high is yours?

    It was forty this evening

    Mine was forty point three. When do you die?

    At forty-two

    That's close

    No, no, you still have time

    Don't go, I'm scared

    Do you hear?

    What?

    How quiet it is suddenly?

    Were there booms before?

    Cannons

    I keep sleeping, and all of a sudden it's nighttime again

    'Cause there's a blackout

    I think they're winning

    Who?

    The Arabs

    No way

    They've occupied Tel Aviv

    What are you . . . who told you that?

    I don't know. Maybe I heard it

    You dreamed it

    No, they said it here, someone, before, I heard voices

    It's from the fever. Nightmares. I have them, too

    My dream . . . I was with my friend

    Maybe you know

    What?

    Which direction I came from

    I don't know anything here

    How long for you?

    Don't know

    Me, four days. Maybe a week

    Wait, where's the nurse?

    At night she's in Internal A. She's an Arab

    How do you know?

    You can hear it when she talks

    You're...

About the Author-
  • DAVID GROSSMAN is one of the leading Israeli writers of his generation, and the author of numerous works of fiction, non-fiction, and children's literature. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, and been translated into twenty-five languages around the world. He lives on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

    JESSICA COHEN's translations include David Grossman's award-winning Her Body Knows and critically acclaimed works by Yael Hedaya, Ronit Matalon, Amir Gutfreund, and Tom Segev.

Reviews-
  • Nicole Krauss

    "Very rarely, a few times in a lifetime, you open a book and when you close it again nothing can ever be the same. To the End of the Land is a book of this magnitude. David Grossman may be the most gifted writer I've ever read.... Powerful, shattering, and unflinching. To read it is to have yourself taken apart, undone, touched at the place of your own essence."

  • Paul Auster "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."
  • Yann Martel "There are some writers in whose words one recognizes the texture of life. David Grossman is such a writer. 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."
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