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Falling Out of Time Hardcover – March 25, 2014

23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* With a strange and wonderful tale, Grossman challenges the boundaries separating life from death, sanity from madness. Announcing I have to go, a grief-stricken Israeli villager takes leave of his bewildered wife, embarking on a journey to there—an impossibly undefined place where he hopes to find and to speak with his dead son. As he sets out walking, in ever-widening circles around his village, the Walking Man becomes a Pied Piper of Bereavement, drawing behind him the Midwife, the Net-Mender, the Elderly Math Teacher, the Duke—all staggering under loads of sadness due to the loss of a loved one. Even the Town Chronicler—who narrates the bizarre quest—joins his distraught wife in the company following the Walking Man into a dreamscape where the deepest fears stirred by death collide with the most passionate hopes for life. Together these grim marchers unfold a dark colloquy—by turns heartrending and comforting—on what it means to love the departed, what it means to accept—or defy—death. Intensifying the pathos, deepening the soul-searching, husbands and wives repeatedly struggle to preserve their union despite sharply contrasting ways of dealing with their shared loss. A potent fusion of poetry, fiction, and drama sweeps readers into very deep waters! --Bryce Christensen

Review

“A strange and riveting book.” —The New York Times Book Review

“An almost unbearably personal work. . . . The monologues evoke both the raw declarations of Athenian tragedy and the homespun lamentations of Robert Frost’s narrative poem.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Spare and poetic.” —The New York Review of Books

“A richly emotional, mystical and philosophical tapestry . . . [Falling Out of Time] deserves recognition among the greatest works in the brave and indispensable tradition of art that pushes back against catastrophe.” —Jewish Daily Forward

“Slim in dimension but as solid as sculpted rock. . . . Although it grows from a private, incomparable ordeal, this noble fable speaks for all.” —The Independent (London)

“Part narrative poem, part play, part novel . . . [a] poignant study of bereavement and loss.” —Financial Times

“[Grossman is] the greatest Israeli writer of his generation. . . . Talmudic, polyphonic, yearning, [Falling Out of Time] comes from a place of pain and darkness and is acutely moving.” —The Daily Telegraph (London)

“The language of its composition makes it particular to Israel, but once translated [Falling Out of Time] becomes universal.” —The Times Literary Supplement (London)

“Grossman is perhaps Israel’s most important contemporary novelist. . . . [Falling Out of Time] resembles a play by Beckett or a Greek tragedy. . . . A haunting, affecting and even beautiful book.” —The Toronto Star

“It’s not a novel, but a mixture of poetry, prose and drama . . . as true and as powerful as CS Lewis’s great A Grief Observed.” —The Times (London)

“A book that needed to be written. . . . Poetic. . . . [A] triumph.” —The Observer (London)

“At once more universal and more personal than anything [Grossman] has written before.” —Sunday Times (London)

Falling Out of Time is short, and clearly a deeply personal book, but its importance and impact ought not to be underestimated.” —The Guardian (London)

“A significant new departure in literature.” —Jewish Chronicle

“Sensual and uncompromising. . . . Written with such simplicity it appears to be speaking directly to the reader, Falling Out Of Time is at times Biblical in its imagery, at others weird and fantastical. . . . It’s a measure of Grossman’s clarity of thought and his theatrical timing that one reaches its end and feels, in some small way, glad to have been in his characters’ company however grim the road they travel.” —The Herald Scotland

“An impassioned exploration of existential questions about life and death. . . . The precision and sensory depth of Grossman’s language renders this unconventional work an unforgettable and magnificent document of suffering.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (March 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385350139
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385350136
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Grossman was born in Jerusalem. He is the author of numerous works of fiction, nonfiction, and children's literature. His work has appeared in The New Yorker and has been translated into thirty languages around the world. He is the recipient of many prizes, including the French Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the Buxtehuder Bulle in Germany, Rome's Premio per la Pace e l'Azione Umitaria, the Premio Ischia-- International Award for Journalism, Israel's Emet Prize, and the Albatross Prize given by the Günter Grass Foundation.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lorri M. on May 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Falling Out of Time, by David Grossman, is a novel that had me engrossed from the first page to the last, and then back again, throughout some of the pages.

It is written in a unique format, part poetry, part theater play and part independent prose. This works, because the individual formats vividly illuminate the characters, their thoughts and their feelings regarding death. Oh, the sorrow, the sadness and excruciating pain of it all, so many individuals banding together to journey towards their children, children who have died. The anguish, the need to reunite, the after-effects and affects of death are portrayed with insight, empathy and the continual mourning process of not letting go.

The expressions of grief and mourning are compelling, profound and caused this reader to reread specific pages. The writing is incredibly overpowering and intense, yet filled with beautiful prose that connects each poetic articulation so brilliantly. I can not say enough.

The never-ending/eternal fragments left behind to those who remain are depicted with masterful word-imagery. The poetic prose is absolutely stunning, poignant, heart-wrenching. As a parent, I can not imagine one of my children leaving this earth before me. It is an unspeakable thought. And, that is what the title implies: The word "death" is too agonizing to utter, as if saying the word finalizes the death, making the reality a starkness. The main character chooses to define death as a person who has fallen out of time.

He, known as "Man", and his wife are trying to begin to communicate about their son's death, five years after the fact. Their relationship since then has been one of non-communicative status.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steven Elliott on June 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Grief isn't linear. It circles around and around, but never really gets anywhere. I don't know if this is what David Grossman meant to convey with the events described in his book, Falling Out of Time, but I think so. I think so because I know that David Grossman knows grief - not knows about - but knows in his bones through painful experience.

I can understand that the form of this book (I hesitate to call it a novel, because it could just as easily be described as poetry, play, myth, fairy tale...) will put some people off. But it made sense to me, because it is a remarkably emotionally truthful depiction of grief, The spare structure enhances the message.

There are so many ways to lose, but this is a book specifically about parents dealing with the death of their children. If you've had that experience, you will recognize yourself, your emotions and reactions in the pages of David Grossman's book: shock, denial, anger, desperation, guilt, bargaining, acceptance... It's all there, excruciatingly beautifully described:

Midwife:
Dear God, such pain
cuts suddenly deep down
in my stomach, my girl -
if only I knew that th-th-there, too,
when you arrived,
when you finished dying,
you were welcomed with loving arms
and a warm, fragrant t-t-towel,
and someone,
or something, in whose bosom
you found peace
in those first moments.

I think one of the greatest sources of comfort is knowing that you are understood. That you do not walk this terrible road alone. A book like Falling Out of Time can bring you some peace.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Osborn on June 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book is the most accurate and poetic description
about the experience of losing a child I have ever read. Grossman speaks the language of loss; some sentences
actually left me breathless. Metaphor, drama, poetry and realism mix freely for a searing but ultimately healing experience. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daphne Stevens on June 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book embodies the experience of profound grief. The shifts from archetypal reality--the dream-like state of inner chanting and keening--into navigating through the outer world--are both lulling and exhausting.

It's reminiscent of the trance imposed by a Classical Greek tragedy. The characters shift from their unique stories into becoming anonymous members of a chorus--then back to their individual characters. I found it reminiscent of the work of TS Eliot.

Not an easy read, but one that captures the nature of grief as few works have done. I'll be surprised if it doesn't show up as a theatre production at some point.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. Cundiff on May 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While I think that the book may be able to reach some people who are into a more poetic style of writing, it failed to reach me in the way I would have liked. To be fair, I went into the book with an expectation to get some perspective on death and dying, and I may have been looking for something different than the book was offering.

The style is too halting and choppy for my taste---you go from a poetic style of writing to a more story-telling style of writing every other page. I prefer a book that is more consistent, stylistically.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By CBL on July 31, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Grossman's meditation is both revelatory of his own grief and a source-book for the grieving; never sentimental, always apposite.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ILANAJERRY HAAS on September 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another D. Grossman work expressing thoughts related to death. The convoluted and complicated interplay between poetry and prose is stimulating. This reader had comprehension difficulties and is not certain how to apportion the blame: on the reader or the author.
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