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Falling Out of Time

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,051 ratings  ·  193 reviews
In Falling Out of Time, David Grossman has created a genre-defying drama--part play, part prose, pure poetry--to tell the story of bereaved parents setting out to reach their lost children. It begins in a small village, in a kitchen, where a man announces to his wife that he is leaving, embarking on a journey in search of their dead son.The man-called simply the "Walking ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published February 6th 2014 by Vintage Digital (first published 2011)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  1,051 ratings  ·  193 reviews

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Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tbr-shelf-2018
A raw and loving book about grief. Grossman (who lost his son) uses poetry and prose in a play form to capture the pain of death by those left behind - parents, wives, husbands.

the boy is dead. I recognize
these words as holding truth:
he is dead. I know.
Yes, I admit it: he is dead.
but his death -- it swells,
is his death
So unquiet.
The literary genre of mourning lyric is a very delicate one, because it is so easy to fall into cheap self-pity, superficial lamentation or pathetic exaggeration; or so it can seem to an outsider. Grossman wrote this book five years after the death of his own son Uri, who was killed in the short Israeli-Lebanese war of 2006. He chose a special style that mixes theatrical play, prose and pure poetry.

People suddenly leave their home, their family, their occupation, and start looking for their son
Diane S ☔
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very differently structured book, this is the authors attempt to give voice to his grief, and to all parents whom have lost a child. An attempt to separate grief from memories, in some parents a way to forgive themselves and a wonderful ode to love and regret.

One can read the synopsis of the book, but that can not relate how powerful I found this little book. The words, the poetry, the commentary, so poignant, so raw. The outpouring of grief from all involved but also the hope that they can
Like the two central characters here, Israeli author David Grossman lost his son, a soldier named Uri, during the Middle East conflict. In this multifaceted examination of bereavement, it seems that everyone has lost a child. The genre-bending mixture of poetry, absurdist dialogue, and an inverted fairy tale reflects the difficulty of ever capturing grief in language. Each story and each strategy is like a new way of approaching the unspeakable.

Though it can be read in one sitting, this is a
Elyse (semi hiatus) Walters
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
As some people know: David Grossman lost his son (during the War in Israel) --5 years ago.

His book "To The End of The Land" (an AMAZING BOOK --one of my all time favorites) -- was his last novel. --

This new release book "Falling Out of Time" is a small little book written for bereaved parents --offering comfort through poetry- and play.

I bought this book (along with "Beyond Tears" --living after losing a child) --to give to my close friend. Her son had been fighting Cancer for the past 10
Billy O'Callaghan
In an unnamed place and unspecified time, a man and his wife exist in pieces following the death of their son. Uncertain where to turn, or how to move on from here, the man announces his intentions to walk, to go to the place where his son might be. So he sets out, moving in circles around his house and around the town and, for the purposes of this book soon earns the identifying moniker, 'The Walking Man'.
It seems like a futile escapade, but he quickly draws others who can identify with his
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it

Death is always a part of life no matter one's age, but at my age one begins to lose more and more people to death. I lost my dad ten years ago this month and my mom five years ago in April. Just two days after I fell ill in May, my favorite uncle passed away at 93 years of age. Simultaneously my favorite aunt fell and broke her shoulder. She had just turned 96 and was deemed too elderly to withstand an operation. She died in hospice care a week later.

I am not writing of all this death as a plea
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
After reading this I am inclined to let the words settle, to secure their place in my memory and then, to take a long walk. For those who have lost someone you may, as I did, find a measure of healing. Inside the pain there is breath. Breath connects us all.
Alice Meloy
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure how many people will be attracted by this small book that deals with the somber subject of parents grieving for dead children. But the phrase "achingly beautiful" was never more apt than here. Originally written as a performance piece, the structure of the book is like an ancient Greek tragedy, the Town Chronicler acting as the Chorus, and individual characters speaking in short, truncated phrases that make the reader pause at the end of each line to digest what is being ...more
Mike Keirsbilck
Sep 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r-52-books
This has been a surprising, but wonderful read. Grossman wrote this book in order to come to terms with his son's death.

Now, how do you do this without losing yourself in pathos and drama? I was very sceptical about it prior to reading this book. Yet, the author delivers gracefully.

In stead of telling the story of the author, Grossman's voice falls apart in many characters and voices. The reader gets a multi-faceted tale of loss, mourning, grief and - because It's the only thing that keeps you
I can't imagine what losing a child feels like. David Grossman knows, and his knowledge ripped me apart as I bent over the table reading line after line of his shattering prose poem.

A father who speaks to his wife candidly for the first time since their life ended, seeking answers mouth agape. He begins to circle around the town in imitation of the circle of life that his innocent child's unnatural death has broken forever. He tries to reconnect with life by recreating it the way it should be:
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book's theme of death & parental grief was the heaviest. I felt, along with the characters, their indescribable pain, despair, emptiness, confusion. The narrative managed to be quite dynamic and descriptive despite the intangible topic being probed. Beautiful imagery accompanied the author's exploration of the bottomless feeling of grief experienced by a child-less parent. It's heartbreaking the whole way through, but there is hope waiting for you at the end.

David Grossman's treatment of
There's no such place. There
doesn't exist!
-If you go there it does. p4

This is not fiction not poetry not memoir not strictly a lament not just a metaphor.
It is a kick in the solar plexus, a kaddish for the human soul.

But tell us: is it full or
hollow, this great fact
of your life? Is it slack
or taut? p 91
Samir Rawas Sarayji
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, play, other-lit
Loved it! A very unusual style, blending poetry, play and sparse prose revolving around one theme - death. The living are grieving and on a journey to understand and find their departed loved ones. Part mythical, part surreal and part psychological, the momentum is continuously propelled forward by the many characters and their desire. It's very clear that this is a personal story for Grossman, who has shown how to transform one's grief (loosing his son) into an artistic outlet. A fascinating ...more
Sep 03, 2014 added it
Shelves: opted-out, 2014-reads
I tried to to read this today. Though it's not at all long the book's style proved difficult for me to comprehend/fully grasp, and my reading attempts couldn't evince the empathy and understanding the meditations required or deserved. My failing, this one. (Unreservedly recommend The Yellow Wind and The Book of Intimate Grammar; still intending to get to To the End of the Land.)
David Raz
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the words of one of the characters, which I suppose is the author himself, right at the end of the book, "can it be that I might have found words for it" (my own translation, I read this in the original Hebrew version). And maybe it did, since the form of this book is so far from what I usually read, yet is certainly works for the subject. All I can say is that putting all this grief into words is something to be revered. I give this book four stars out of five, though I can't recommend this ...more
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a very strange book, something between a play and a novel and poetry,and every character in it has lost a child. I would definitely say don't read it if you have been in that unthinkable situation yourself. The author has put a lot of thought into the course of grief, and how to represent it in original ways, including a bunch of people walking interminably to try to somehow reach their lost children, and one man who has merged with his desk to become a centaur (maybe a stand-in for the ...more
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2017
A stunning, haunting portrayal of parental grief. There were certain lines that made me shut my eyes when I read them because they were so jarring and exquisite. Grossman's characters are united by their grief, yet he makes each of them distinct in the method and situation of their grieving, and in the empathy they command. This book is a true masterpiece, one that transcends genre lines to depict humanity at its rawest.
The entire book is devoted to mourning lost children, so things get a bit deep and teary and oh god, can we maybe not talk about this anymore? I'm not a parent, but this book still hit me pretty hard at times; I honestly don't know how someone who has actually lost a child could get through this thing.

That being said, it's one of the most beautiful works of art I've ever read. As I mentioned, it's kind of a play, and all of these different characters intermingle and exist solely through
May 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This poetic novel is an illumination of the grief process, and the process of accepting the loss of a child.

David Grossman is masterful with prose that vividly depicts those on a journey towards recognizing death's reality.

As much as we would want to be able to cross through the wall that separates the world we live in with the realm our loved one is now in, the novel illuminates that we can not be "there" and "here" at the same time.

Having lost his own son to the Israel-Lebanon War, this
Shivam Kalra
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
1st read ( 2 April - 14 April 2018): And I thought Burnt Shadows was the most heartbreaking and emotional book I had read.

2nd read (6 April - 7 April 2019): Thought I could read it one sitting the second time. I couldn't. And it still made me cry so bad. Funny how just happened to read it second time exactly 1 year after I read it for the first time.
Daniel Sevitt
Poetry of grief. Grossman dives deep into the most unnatural grief of all - that of a parent for a child. Poetic, allegorical, troubled. This makes a sad companion piece to the Max Porter book I read recently, Grief is a Thing With Feathers.

Not sure at this point if I'm choosing these books or if they're choosing me.
Oct 10, 2016 rated it liked it
This is the weirdest book I have ever read outside of The Divine Comedy.

The official synopsis says it all in terms of the story line. I had a love/hate relationship with the way the story is written.

It's a short read: only an afternoon. it has thought provoking points of view.
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Must reread instantly.
Very beautiful.
Jeremy Jetzon
Mar 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Magnificent! A searing indictment of anything that is not a book titled "Falling out of Time!"
Angie Fehl
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Translated from the original Hebrew, Israeli author David Grossman's unique novel explores various aspects of the grieving process through a combination of prose, poetry, even presenting a bit of the story in play format. At its core, it is described as a "fable of parental grief".

Our main character, simply named "Walking Man", working through the grief of having recently lost a child, paces around the courtyard area in front of his home in ever-widening concentric circles. This pattern has him
May 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: good-riddance
I'm not sure why this book is a thing. A complete waste of my time (although, luckily, it's a pretty quick read so I only wasted an hour or two of my life). I'm not entirely sure what this novel is trying to be. There are a few passages in prose, but most of it is dialogue
with too many
line breaks
for no reason.

The characters are one-dimensional. By the second half of the book I stopped reading the character names because they're essentially the same—except one of them
David Grossman wrote this peculiar (in the best meaning of this word) book after losing his son in a war and this is in a way a record of grief, pain and the lack of agreement and acceptance for the death of a child. It’s painful to read, it rips something from your heart, it makes you sympathize, you co-feel with the characters. It’s a short book but I read it for quite a while, as it was in a way a scary read. I don’t think it’s because I am a mother myself, mostly I believe that every person ...more
Benjamin Kass
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Picked this up on a whim and ended up really enjoying it. If I hadn't had to go to sleep, I probably would have read it all in one sitting. The poetry carries you along gently. Evocative might be too overused a word, but it does do a great job of sketching out the physical characteristics of the world and the thoughts/fears/dreams of the characters within.

Near the end, there are parts where I think the imagery fails in trying to become more gross, darker. But the book as a whole is a great
Maryam Romanos
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is heartbreaking, mostly because it isn’t written as a story but as a journal which makes is more realistic. Grossman has lost a son and it is impossible to imagine how that must feel like, but he managed to describe the emotions in a beautiful way that makes you understand. I wasn’t sure if this book was worthy of four stars because of the quite many characters it has that made me a little bit confused in the beginning, but I couldn’t stop reading the last 30-40 pages and I loved the ...more
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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
“There is
is breath
inside the pain
there is breath”
“That's the only way I can somehow get close to it, to that goddamn it, without it killing me, you know? I have to dance around in front of it, I have to move, not freeze like a mouse who sees a snake. I have to feel, even just for a minute, for half a second, the last free place I may still have inside me, the fraction of a spark that still somehow glows inside, which that lousy it couldn't extinguish. Ugh! I have no other way. You have to get that: I have no other way. And maybe there is no other way, huh? I don't know, and you wouldn't understand, so at least write it down, quick. I want to knead it--yes, it, the thing that happened, the thing that struck like lightening and burned everything I had, including the words, goddamn it and its memory, the bastard burned the words that could have described it for me. And I have to mix it up with some part of me. I must, from deep inside me, and then exhale into it with my pathetic breath so I can try and make it a bit--how can I explain this to you--a bit mine, mine...Because a part of me, of mine, already belongs to it, deep inside it, in its damn prison, so there might be an opening, we might be able to haggle...What? Write it down, you criminal! Don't stop writing. You stand there staring at me? Now that I've finally managed to get out a single word about it, and breathe...I have to create characters. That's what I want, what I need. I must, it's always like that with me. Characters that flow into the story, swarm it, that can maybe air out my cell a little and surprise it--and me. Yes, I want them to betray me, betray it, the motherfucker. I want them to jump it from this side and the other and from every direction...just so long as they make it budge even one millimeter, that's enough, so that at least it moves a little on my page, so it twitches,
and just
makes it not
so impossible

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