Casey's Reviews > To the End of the Land

To the End of the Land by David Grossman
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Dec 15, 10

bookshelves: 2010, adults, book-club

** spoiler alert ** This isn't a book that I loved while reading. In fact, I found some parts pretty darn tedious. The more I think about it, though, the more I think it's a really, really good book. Grossman truly created living, breathing characters. There were so many relationships to keep track of-- Ora and Avram, Ora and Ilan, Avram and Ilan, Ora and each her sons, Ilan and his sons, Adam and Ofer, and Avram with the son he never knew. Oh, and Avram and Neeta and Ora and Sami etc., etc. Each of these relationships was so faceted, they really makes me admire the author. I liked the little parallelisms in the plot, the moments of magic (the broken dancers, for example), and the snapshots of family and war. I liked the narrative structure, how disjointed it could be.

I also think the reader does not get the full emotional impact of the story until reading the author's note at the end. The whole time, I truly believed that Ofer would live. I think David Grossman himself thought Ofer would live. In his author's note, he explained that the writing of this book, in a magical thinking sort of way, was meant to protect his son while he was completing his army service. Grossman explains, however, that his son was killed. The book ends without telling whether Ofer lives or dies (to give the reader just a taste of the awfulness of not knowing), but I think we are supposed to understand that he dies, and Ora and Avram, who were healed a little on their walk, will never be okay. This sort of ending-without-a-conclusion was one of the strongest parts of the book, and what makes it, I think, an especially compelling anti-war novel.
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