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Writing in the Dark: Essays on Literature and Politics

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  88 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Throughout his career, David Grossman has been a voice for peace and reconciliation between Israel and its Arab citizens and neighbors. In these six essays on politics and culture in Israel, he addresses the conscience of a country that has lost faith in its leaders and its ideals. The collection includes an already famous speech concerning the disastrous Second Lebanon Wa ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Picador (first published January 1st 2008)
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Mariel
Dec 19, 2012 Mariel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: so make some noise for all your predecessors
Recommended to Mariel by: lets deny the nervous room of pacing
'Among the tortures and devastations of life is this then- our friends are not able to finish their stories.' Virginia Woolf 'The Waves'

Today I know that at ten I discovered that books are the place in the world where both the thing and the loss of it can coexist.

I kind of ruined this review for ever writing it by writing it in my head while I was doing other stuff like working or driving. Not the doing other stuff but that I took it down too many other paths to get back to where I had been. It'
...more
Karen
Beautiful essays on writing, war and peace (not to be confused with Tolstoy's book on writing "War and Peace")*. Most are incredibly sad, especially those written after the death of Grossman's son in the second Lebanon war - a war that Grossman vehemently opposed from the start. As an Israeli, I came away from this book feeling pretty depressed and hopeless about the state of things in my country. But Grossman is definitely a "prophet of wrath" - he tends to make very harsh judgments about the c ...more
Heather Richardson
Thought-provoking collection of essays from Israeli writer Grossman. 'The Desire to be Gisella' has particular lessons for fiction writers: Grossman unpicks his approach to inhabiting his fictional characters, and bringing them properly to life.
Rachelle Urist
Lucid and incisive, David Grossman is a Jewish force of conscience, thoughtful analysis, and remembrance. His essays include reminiscences of his precocious love for the writing of Sholom Aleichen at a time when his young buddies were playing ball and climbing trees. The world of the shtetl came alive for him, and only when he suddenly realized that those towns and its people no longer existed did the full impact of the holocaust hit home. He writes about the danger to the Jewish soul (and to Is ...more
Lou
In this collection of essays and speeches, David Grossman creates a powerful argument on creating peace between Israel and its neighbors. He speaks with a profound sense of wisdom and a deep understanding of Israeli psychology. I look forward to reading his other books.
Erika Dreifus
My review of this book appears on My Machberet.
Marjorie Ingall
Beautifully written and impressively translated. I haven't read Grossman's fiction (I know, I know) but a friend recommended this collection to me and I'm so glad. Grossman is a huge figure in Israel -- novelist, short-story writer, outspoken liberal, public intellectual. Two days after Grossman and two other writers, Amos Oz and A.B. Yehoshua, held a press conference urging Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to reach a ceasefire agreement, Grossman's 20-year-old son was killed in the 2006 war with Leba ...more
Dale Kushner
Each essay in this compelling book is a gem. Grossman’s subjects range from influences on the author’s writing and writing life (he is a novelist, essayist, and Israeli peace advocate) to his heart-rending title piece (“Writing In the Dark”) that examines “the effects of trauma” on states and persons under a prolonged state of war; he writes about exile and alienation in their literal and figurative manifestations. Grossman is a writer who fiercely loves language, both its connotative and denota ...more
Ulises
Excelentes reflexiones sobre política, identidad y creación, que como textos separados funcionan muy bien pero ya puestos en libro este resulta reiterativo. Ideal también como introducción a la obra del autor.
Anna
Phenomenal essays, heartbreaking and empowering, critical and hopeful. Grossman blends the ties of literature and politics, of writing, understanding and compassion, not effortlessly but deliberately and powerfully. His intelligence and approach to difficult subject matter is something I respect so much. I took so much from reading this!
Catherine  Mustread
Aug 28, 2009 Catherine Mustread marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catherine by: Dayton Literary Peace Prize
"In six essays on politics and culture in Israel, including his speech on the 2006 Lebanon War, which took the life of his son, Grossman addresses the conscience of a country that has lost faith in its leaders and its ideals."
Matthew
Food for political thought. Love Grossman's point of view and way of seeing issues from a unique and fresh perspective.
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From ithl.org:

Leading Israeli novelist David Grossman (b. 1954, Jerusalem) studied philosophy and drama at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and later worked as an editor and broadcaster at Israel Radio. Grossman has written seven novels, a play, a number of short stories and novellas, and a number of books for children and youth. He has also published several books of non-fiction, including int
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“I write. I imagine. The act of imagining in itself enlivens me. I am not frozen and paralyzed before the predator. I invent characters. At times I feel as if I am digging up people from the ice in which reality enshrouded them, but maybe, more than anything else, it is myself that I am now digging up.” 9 likes
“I write. I give intimate private names to an external and foreign world. In a sense, I make it mine. In a sense, I return from feeling exiled and foreign to feeling at home. By doing so, I am already making a small change in what appeared to me earlier as unchangeable. Also, when I describe the impermeable arbitrariness that signs my destiny — arbitrariness at the hands of a human being, or arbitrariness at the hands of fate — I suddenly discover new nuances, subtleties. I discover that the mere act of writing about arbitrariness allows me to feel a freedom of movement in relation to it. That by merely facing up to arbitrariness I am granted freedom — maybe the only freedom a man may have against any arbitrariness: the freedom to put your tragedy into your own words. The freedom to express yourself differently, innovatively, before that which threatens to chain and bind one to arbitrariness and its limited, fossilizing definitions.” 5 likes
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