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To the End of the Land

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  5,414 ratings  ·  839 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
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Published September 21st 2010 by Random House Audio (first published 2008)
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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,414 ratings  ·  839 reviews

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Elyse Walters
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
This book was WONDERFUL

UPDATE: 5 years later: *August 2015*

A friend 'Liked' this review yesterday. My body felt frozen - I had to remember to breath.
Honestly, I have never been more 'shocked' -'frozen' with an ending to a book than this one. I was a mess. It was not a happy ending--but I still had no idea --NONE --of what I was about to discover.
I was devastated. At first I couldn't move --then I cried -then I couldn't move some more.

I remember at some point going up to the trails, alone, for
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grossman mi ha accompagnato per 9 giorni. 9 giorni di dolore, di angoscia, 9 giorni in cui il mio cuore ha sofferto piangendo lacrime amare.
Leggere questo romanzo è una sofferenza, non solo interiore, ma anche fisica. E' una ferita profonda che si apre lasciando piaghe e che fa fatica a rimarginarsi. E' sofferenza, è angoscia, è dolore nel dolore.
E'difficile leggere un libro del genere, non tanto per lo stile, quanto per il fatto che Grossman dà voce a ognuno dei personaggi, di cui il lettore i
David Grossman, one of Israel’s most acclaimed writers, has written a novel of extraordinary power about family life—the greatest human drama—and the cost of war.

Three people meet in 1967, with injuries suffered in the Six Day War.

Thirty three years later there is another war and the son of Ora has served his time but re-enlists. She leaves her home because she does not want to be there if THEY come (THEY would tell her that her son has been killed). She decides to leave home for a month-long hi
Apr 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Diane S ☔
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this book. I think one of the main reasons is that I have read so many based in the UK or USA and therefore reading this book was a refreshing change. It may seem odd to use the word refreshing considering the subject matter but I found that too was refreshing or rather the way in which it was presented. This book was challenging in a good way it was also confronting at times in a gentle rather than brutal way, it was also joyous and saddening. The writing made me feel l ...more
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Gumble's Yard
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Tale by Israeli author, ant-settlement protester whose son was killed in the army shortly before he finishes the book.

The story is far from flawless: the first 50 pages are incoherent (supposedly representing the fever of the three characters which is itself a metaphor for the war fever of Israel but it makes this piece unreadable); clunky in structure with the first 50 pages followed by a whole subplot about Ora and her family’s Palestinian driver Sami (she unthinkingly gets him to drive Ofer
Dec 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Secondo libro che leggo di Grossman ed è sempre una fatica incommensurabile. Ci sono dei momenti che sembra di scalare l'Everest per quanto è pesante e ripetitivo, mentre altri sono di una poesia e una meraviglia unica che ribaltano totalmente il giudizio del romanzo.
Faticosissimo arrivare in fondo per questo non me la sento di dare un voto molto alto, perché personalmente l'ho trovato stancante.
La storia è quella del lungo viaggio a piedi attraverso la Galilea di una madre, Orah, in compagnia d
Oct 25, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Кремена Михайлова
Книга за Офер (Офер-ке, Оферико).

„Ето, скъпи, произведох поредния войник за Цахал.“ А Илан незабавно изстреля дежурния отговор, че докато Офер порасне, вече ще има мир.“

След „Червената нишка“ ми е нужна тишина. Защото чрез уменията и преживяванията си Давид Гросман не остави емоциите ми намира (след стр. 300 особено – непрестанна буря). Толкова силно ми е въздействала само „Чернобилска молитва“ на Св. Алексиевич, дори не „Цинковите момчета“, макар че именно втората е за война както книгата на Гр
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Il libro, come lo dichiara l’autore stesso nell’ultima asciuttissima pagina, è un tentativo di proteggere dalla morte il figlio, Uri, che sarà ucciso durante la stesura del testo, il 12 agosto 2006. Ed è il lungo, racconto ( 780 pagine), ad ogni riga avvincente, palpitante, della dura camminata di una madre Orah ("luce" in italiano) che si allontana da casa sua, a Gerusalemme, compiendo un circuito che la riporti al punto di partenza, attraverso le montagne, i fiumi, la Giordania, gli incontri c ...more
At first I really struggled with this book: it took me more than 80 pages to get into the story, but what follows after that is unparalleled and heart breaking. Why do I love this book?
1. With Ora, Grossman has sketched a "big", primeval woman: mother, lover, mistress at the same time. That sounds silly and of course very gender-coloured, I know, but with this character Grossman really got me captivated. Ora is powerful, hypersensitive, very obsessed with life, but often also very weak, blind, a
Aug 26, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, vine, fiction
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
Nov 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sara by: Elyse Walters
Shelves: literary-fiction
I keep taking deep breaths trying to figure out how to say and what to say about this book. It is heavy throughout, without any comic relief or lifts; it is wrenching, soul-searching, life-affirming. It hurts so much sometimes that I needed to set it aside and take breathers and remind myself that this was not happening to me, although when this happens in the world it happens to us all. It is unimaginable and yet 100% possible and real. I walked every mile of this journey in Ora's shoes.

My love
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Stephen Durrant
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
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Libro faticosissimo da leggere, oltre che lungo e talvolta prolisso.
Tuttavia nemmeno una riga è superflua per la realtà che racconta.
Vivamente consigliato - al primo momento di stanca nella lettura - leggere la nota dell'Autore alla fine.
Sep 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Monica Carter
Mar 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: btba

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
E allora aveva visto il giorno in cui suo figlio l'avrebbe lasciata, se ne sarebbe andato, come fanno tutti, e aveva percepito alcune delle sensazioni che provava adesso, che affondavano in lei le zanne da predatore.

Come recensire un romanzo simile? Da dove iniziare? Di fronte a questo romanzo le dita si bloccano, la lingua si frena: come si può dire l'impronunciabile, esprimere l'inesprimibile?
La verità è che A un cerbiatto somiglia il mio amore, un romanzo che reca nel suo titolo, sapientemen
Daniel Chaikin
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This comes from a terrific book recommendation I got at a bookstore in Tel Aviv back in February. The bookstore clerk turned me away from the latest Amos Oz and even the award winning latest Grossman and pointed me to this (and a couple others).

I loved this book even as I struggled to read more than about ten pages a sitting (at almost 600 pages, that's a lot of sittings). The language is somehow very intense, always. He delves into the psychology of always-at-war Israel, specifically from the
Mary Soderstrom
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two State, One State: The Dilemma of Israel and Palestine in Two Books

The New York Times carried a very interesting essay earlier this week by Anthony Lerman, "The End of Liberal Zionism." This summer's war in Gaza underscores the difficulties Jews who embrace liberal values have with the coalition of right wing and theologically pure interests which now hold sway in Israel. I've invited my liberal Jewish friends to comment on Facebook, but so far I have no input from them.

So I've returned to t
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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 int
“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.”
“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.” 6 likes
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