To the End of the Land
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To the End of the Land

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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  3,143 ratings  ·  601 reviews
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 h...more
Hardcover, 581 pages
Published September 21st 2010 by Vintage Books (first published 2008)
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Mariel
May 16, 2012 Mariel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the dream has gone but the baby is real
Recommended to Mariel by: she could have been a poet or she could have been a fool
Shelves: my-love-life
(Sorry for the reposting and then taking down and then reposting. This book I feel I owe something to...)

You cannot point out a star to someone without putting your other hand on his shoulder.

David Grossman wrote To The End Of The Land while his second eldest son was serving in the military. He wrote the novel as if doing so would protect him. It didn't save his life. The quote from the New York Times Book Review on the cover says "One of those few novels that feels as though they have made a d...more
Chrissie
Aug 10, 2013 Chrissie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Chrissie by: New Yorker
ETA: I better add this. If you are looking for a sweet pat ending look elsewhere. This book does not have a fairy tale ending.

I absolutely LOVE this book. Add some explosion claps.

I have read about half. THIS is a love story. What kind of love? Love for your child, your first and your second. Love for your partner in life. Husband or someone else, doesn't matter. There is a really weird triangle love relationship, but the further and further I go into the book the more it all makes sense. And...more
Natalie
I am in Paris, and have been in Berlin and Barcelona for 3 weeks before that.

I have bought SO many books, and visited the best bookstores in the world: two of which were in Berlin.

Today I went to Shakespeare and co, and got some contemporary French translations, so I need to plough through this so I can get started on the 15 other books im lugging around from my trip purchases. Hard to carry for 7 weeks!

.........

Just finished this an I am too emotional to write about it a) because the book total...more
Diane S.
I actually wanted to re-read the ending before I wrote this review, I did and although it is not your proverbial happy ending, it is so very fitting. When one reads a book like this, a book that I would probably never had picked up unless one of my goodread friends had been reading it and just posting how much she was loving this book. It is so wonderful when this site does just these kind of things.

This book is one that I will probably think about for a long time. We first meet the three main c...more
Laura
What an entrancing introduction to the work of acclaimed, progressive Israeli novelist David Grossman, whose son died fighting in the conflict with Lebanon in 2006. Though Grossman wrote much of this novel before that tragedy, it fully informs and casts its shadow over the narrative. Grossman, in a sense, had been writing the book to protect his son, just as his protagonist Ora goes on a desperate hike with her former lover in the Galilee to avoid any bad news related to her son, Ofer (who must...more
Helen
This is one of the best books I've read on what it means to live in Israel.

I’m not the first to write that To the End of the Land is a shattering, soul-changing book. While Mr. Grossman was working on the manuscript, his son Uri was called up to serve in Operation Cast Lead. He was killed as he attempted to rescue another group of soldiers. Grief and loss haunt every page.

For three years, Ora has been anxiously awaiting her son Ofer’s discharge from the Israeli army. Together, they’ve been pla...more
arcobaleno
Si rimisero in cammino…
Una scrittura inconsueta: un po’ come la corrente di un fiume, come disegnare un vortice, o delle fiamme. È un continuo divenire. Un fiume di dialoghi e di pensieri che scorrono senza interruzioni, liberi, non tradotti, e che, dopo lo sbalordimento del primo impatto, ti entrano e ti stordiscono e diventano tuoi.
E allora partecipi in prima persona, ti senti protagonista vicino a Orah e Avram, mentre con loro cammini lungo i sentieri di Israele. Respiri e vivi il racconto d...more
Elaine
Apr 15, 2012 Elaine rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
I really struggled with this one, and to a certain extent I feel like I am giving four stars because respect must be paid, to Grossman as a novelist at the height of his powers using all his craft to create a formally perfect and emotionally searing masterpiece, to Grossman as a father who somehow managed to take some small piece of his loss and transform it into art, to Grossman as a rational thinking caring man in a place where rationality and caring are at best perilously endangered.

And so r...more
Katherine
My reactions to this book are all over the map, as it were. Part of the time I was quite annoyed with the characters and the author. Some of the dialogue (and perhaps this is just because it's in translation) seemed stilted and improbable to me. (Who doesn't wish they could go back and have the perfect conversation with an ex-lover where they neatly sum everything up and get to go on and on about their life since the breakup in mundane detail? And for those who do wish that - what the heck is wr...more
Etienne
Loving this book. Many possible interpretations so far. I like the dual nature of the story, Avram/Ilan, Adam/Ofer, Military leave/Torture, Jewish/Palestinian, Volunteer for service/Take military leave, Responsibility for the other man's child/Escape from own child, etc...

I'm reading this with the following quote in mind: "The bride is beautiful but she is married to another man" - look it up if you haven't come across it. Now, what if both men marry the bride, and both men have 1 child with th...more
Julie
Despite Nicole Krauss’s ridiculously glowing review, I never felt this book was powerful, shattering or unflinching. Ora is a middle-aged Israeli mother of two who flees to the Galilean countryside when her youngest son Ofer volunteers for combat in a conflict taking place in 2000. She is desperate to escape any news of the battle and her son’s fate, so she brings an old friend Avram along with her on a trek through the wilderness. The entire novel is basically Ora’s reflection on her son, her f...more
Monica Carter

They sit quietly, digesting. Ora hugs her knees, rationalizing that she isn't all that accessible and permeable even to herself anymore, and that even she herself doesn't go near that place inside of her. It must be that she's growing old, she decides--for some time now she's had a strange eagerness to pronounce her aging, impatient for the relief that comes with a declaration of total bankruptcy. That's how it goes. You say goodbye to yourself even before other people start to, softening the bl
...more
Sarah
This may be one of the best books I've ever read. No, that seems to contain some doubt. This IS one of the most amazing books I've ever read. I have been sleep deprived for a week because I could not put it down until long after exhaustion set in. It is set in Isreal (it's translated from Hebrew) and is about Ora, whose son's military service is extended a month just as a campaign against Lebanon begins. Ora makes a pact, a deal, where if the notifiers can't find her, then her son can't die-- so...more
switterbug (Betsey)
Ora, an Israeli mother, planned a Galilee backpacking trip with her youngest son, Ofer, to celebrate the end of his army conscription. But, like a fist through her soul, he signed up for a major offensive, another twenty-eight days. Barely holding her sanity together--her husband, Ilan, has trekked off to Bolivia with her oldest son, Adam--she flees from her fear of the "notifiers" (the government officials who deliver grave news) and leaves, anyway, sans cell phone and contact access.

Ora pleads...more
Sarah
I can't remember who suggested this book to me - I found it in my "Books" list as I was looking for something to read on my last business trip. So, without knowing entirely what I was getting into, within a few pages I found myself completely engaged in this complex story. Grossman manipulated my attention by starting the narrative with the main characters as teenagers - you get only glimpses of where he going. In fact, that's a technique he uses to carry the reader through even the most difficu...more
Sheri
What this book could have been like with a decent editor! I read it on my Kindle, so I have no idea how many printed pages it was, but it felt like the reading equivalent of the Bataan Death March. And since so much of the narrative unfolds during a hike across Israel by two of the main characters, the comparison to the Bataan Death March felt pretty apt. Which isn't to say there aren't things to like about this book. The accounts of the events of the lives of the 2 sons from birth through child...more
Jeffrey Cohan
It is hard enough to review, or critique, the work of a highly accomplished author without thinking, “Who am I to opine?”

And it is exponentially even harder when the book in question closely reflects a tragic loss in the author’s personal life.

So I’m a little uncomfortable, even pained, to say that I cannot recommend David Grossman’s epic Israeli novel, “To the End of the Land.”

The novel focuses on two very well-drawn characters: Ora, a middle-aged mother whose son has a dangerous job in the Isr...more
Stephen
I feel a bit guilty about not having become more absorbed in this novel. Several of my friends, whose taste in literature I respect, felt Grossman's "To the End of the Land" was the best thing since sliced bread (since I have started spending time in France, this expression baffles me--was sliced bread really a step forward? Anyway . . . ) . It was for me slow and even at times tedious. The premise is enticing. A young Israeli, who has already fulfilled his compulsory military service, volunteer...more
Lauren
This book is like getting a punch in the gut. I have a feeling the answer to relationships, family or romantic, lies somewhere deep within the pages of this book. The power of the mind isn't in magical thinking to prevent death [but who hasn't made a bargain in their mind for something they really don't want to happen] but in destroying relationships or deceiving ourselves.

The underlining current I keep coming back to is where Avram gave up on himself and forced Ilan to take all the things he co...more
☮Karen
I was so happy to have read this; had never heard of it until some very glowing reviews came to light on Goodreads. The background of the three main characters and their almost lifelong relationship was entirely believable and so well developed because of the skillful writing. We become extremely well acquainted with every character, including the setting, Galilee in Northern Israel, which sounds like a beautiful area where the Jewish and Arab citizens seem to live somewhat in harmony (I say wit...more
James
I read this book maybe a year ago and was reminded the other day of how fantastic it was by an interview with the author on a BBC World Book Club podcast from 11/5/11. The book, as I recall, translated from the Hebrew, is about a middle aged Jewish woman in Israel, recently separated from her husband, who is about to take a long walking trip around Israel with her younger 20-something son. He is called back into the Israeli military before they can go, so she decides to go by herself--utilizing...more
Lauren
Aug 12, 2010 Lauren added it
This is another, like Next, that is impossible to rate. It's part genius, part indulgence, and it rambles on, amassing detail after detail, some fascinating, some not so, until the last 50 pages in which the writing grows sharper, deeper, more thoughtful, and the plot, such as it is, becomes even more gripping.

Ora is celebrating her son's release from army service when he decides to rejoin. In a fit of magical thinking, she takes off for an extended walk through the Gallilee reasoning that if s...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
Jan 16, 2011 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer (JC-S) by: fionnabhair@bigpond.com
Shelves: librarybooks
‘Had you known what would happen, which name would you have wanted to pick?’

The novel opens in 1967 with a lengthy prologue set in the isolation ward of a Tel Aviv hospital during the Six Day War. Three sick teenagers: the girl Ora, and the two boys Avram and Ilan, are terrified that Israel has already fallen to the Egyptians. They try to comfort each other: Ora is already falling in love with the artistic and romantic Avram; it seems possible that Ilan may not survive.

But forty years later, jus...more
Lowry
I was at a Bar Mitzvah, standing around with drink in hand, when someone I only see at Bar Mitzvahs told me about this book with the kind of passion and conviction that made me sure I wanted to read it. (And I typically resist reading any book I'm told I must read.) She was right. In recent years I don't read as many novels as I once did, and it perhaps matters more, therefore, when reading one really seems to have made a difference. When I ask myself if I've read anything that might one day be...more
Mary
The premise was intriguing - Ora is an Israeli woman whose son is going to war -- again -- and she runs away to go on a hike with a former lover to escape getting any notice that her son has been killed.

But I really struggled to get through this book. I felt that it was way too long. The story was told with a lot of back-tracking and teasing about what actually happened in the past, and this was irritating after a short time. And although I felt empathy with Ora, I must confess that by the end o...more
Veronica
Guerra dei sei giorni. Orah, Avram e Ilan sono tre sedicenni che si incontrano all'interno del reparto di isolamento di un ospedale di Gerusalemme mentre all'esterno è il caos.
Mentre Ilan è quasi del tutto relegato a un mondo fatto di deliri da febbre alta, tra Orah e Avram nasce (una luce nel buio dell'ospedale) un'amicizia profonda fatta di un fiume di parole: i pensieri più profondi di Orah che hanno adesso il coraggio di uscire, la fantasia traboccante di Avram che prende forma attraverso s...more
Deb
I am not an Israeli mother, but I don't think I've ever related more to a mom in a book than I did to the Israeli mother in this book. My situation is completely different than hers, yet I found myself in her mistakes, in her anxieties, and in her attempts to ward off evil. Thank you, David Grossman, for sharing such personal insights into what it is to be a parent.
Tuck
an absolutely necessary novel and if you didn't believe in Grossman before, this will absolutely convince you he is one of the best writers today.
Mazel
Ora, une femme séparée depuis peu d’Ilan, son mari, quitte son foyer de Jérusalem et fuit la nouvelle inéluctable que lui dicte son instinct maternel : la mort de son second fils, Ofer, qui, sur le point de terminer son service militaire, s’est porté volontaire pour « une opération d'envergure » de 28 jours dans une ville palestinienne, nouvelle que lui apporteraient l’officier et les soldats affectés à cette terrible tâche. Mais s’il faut une personne pour délivrer un message, il en faut une po...more
Kalen
I simultaneously loved and hated this book. It's rare that I have the patience to stick with a book when 300 pages in to it I hate the main character and think she has an unhealthy obsession with one of her sons and just want her to shut up already.

But I stuck with it and it paid off. This will surely be a book that sticks with me for a long time and will likely make my Favorites list at the end of the year.

First, the setting is gorgeous. Having just returned from Israel, where I only saw a sm...more
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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...more
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“From the minute I saw you with the match in your hand I thought I could tell you anything on my mind.

You'd be my model, but for words.”
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“And there will be a time, not for long, a month is enough, or a week, when every single person will be able to completely fulfill what they were meant to be—everything their bodies and souls have offered them, not what other people have dumped on them.” 2 likes
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