To the End of the Land
Booklist Reviews 2010 August #1
*Starred Review* Acclaimed Israeli author Grossman serves up a powerful meditation on war, friendship, and family. Instead of celebrating her son Oferâ€™s discharge from the Israeli Army, Ora finds her life turned upside down and inside out when he reenlists and is sent back to the front for a major offensive. Unable to bear the thought of sitting alone waiting for the â€œnotifiersâ€ to bring her bad news, the recently separated Ora decides to hike in the Galilee, where she will be both anonymous and inaccessible. Joined by her estranged best friend and former lover Avram, a recluse who never recovered from the brutality he experienced as a POW during the Yom Kippur War, she narrates the story of her doomed marriage to Ilan and her often arduous journey as a mother. As the tension mounts, she talks compulsively about Ofer, as if telling his story will protect him and keep him alive for both herself and for Avram, the biological father he has never met. As Ora and Avram travel back and forth through time via shared memories, the toll exacted by living in a land and among a people constantly at war is excruciatingly evident. Grossman, whose own son was killed during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, writes directly from the heart in this scorching antiwar novel. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2010 April #1
On the verge of his release from the army, a man up and reenlists, and his mother, who can't bear the waiting, chooses to hike alone in a remote area of the country without even her cell phone for company. Another take on our soldiers in Iraq? Actually not, though this new work from multi-award-winning Israeli author Grossman is significant reading for any American touched by that war. More broadly, in quietly intense fashion Grossman sums up the moral complexity of conflict in the Middle East; witness the first chapter, in which Ora, needing to escort son Ofer back to his emergency call-up, mindlessly engages their usual driver, Sami-a Palestinian who's pained to find himself contributing in this way to the Israeli war effort. Excellent for discussion; with a six-city tour. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
LJ Reviews 2010 August #1
Ora, who has eagerly awaited her son Ofer's release from the Israeli army, is devastated when he voluntarily extends his service; she has a premonition that he will not return alive. To escape what she feels is the inevitable official notification of his death, she decides to undertake a journey planned for the two of them, an adventurous hike in Galilee, a remote mountainous region in northern Israel, telling no one how to contact her. She enlists the company of an old friend and lover, Avram, himself an open war wound, still suffering the ill effects of captivity in a prisoner-of-war camp 20 years earlier. Convinced that talking about Ofer will keep him alive, Ora fills Avram in on her life since Avram's captivity, detailing her relationship with her now-estranged husband, Ilan, the third person in their once three musketeer-like friendship, as well as her childhood and her experience as a mother. VERDICT Glimmers of humanity, life, and hope counterbalance the sense of despair, foreboding, and sadness that permeate this detailed and beautiful chronicle of Ora's, Ofer's, and Avram's lives. A final heartbreaking note from the author makes the story all the more poignant. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/10.]—Sarah Conrad Weisman, Corning Community Coll., NY[Page 68]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
PW Reviews 2010 July #2
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.)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.