Anmaru's Reviews > To the End of the Land

To the End of the Land by David Grossman
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Apr 11, 2012

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Read in April, 2011

This book, set in Israel between 1967 and 2000, works on many levels: anti-war book; story about relationships (male/female; parent/child; siblings); an ode to the beauty of the Israeli landscape.

When her son Ofer volunteers for an additional twenty-eight day tour of duty after he has completed his normal period of military service, it is the fear that the “notifiers” will come to give her terrible news that causes Ora to decide to go on an extended hike along the Israel Trail. If she is not at home, she cannot receive the news and somehow in her mind the worst cannot happen. Her travelling companion is Avram, Ofer's father. As they walk, Ora tells Avram about the life of his son, whom he has never known. She tells him about the birth, about the early years, and his adolescence. She also tells him about her other son, Adam, and about her life with Ilan (from whom she is now estranged). At the beginning, Avram is inarticulate, willing to walk but not keen on talking. But Ora persists in telling him about Ofer and eventually she breaks through Avram’s protective shell and he participates.

At times the book seems to have too many layers and to be circuitous, like the journey is at times. The meandering walk in the middle section goes on too long. There are hints about significant aspects of the story that are only explained late in the book. But the tension of living in Israel with the constant fear of terrorism is starkly realistic.

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