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To the End of the Land Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 21, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
The catalyst for Oras journey - outlined in many other reviews here, is her attempt to escape her greatest fear, what she describes as the "nationalization" of her family--that Israel is coming to claim her son's life. Ofer was hers for twenty years, and now Ora must pay her dues.
Israel is a country that historically has dictated the nationalization of private emotions. It is a country where the culture of remembrance unifies and takes ownership over the dead. We - Israelis - mourn the loss of "our" fallen, and say kaddish (a prayer for the dead) for "our" sons. Society becomes a grieving "family," known in Hebrew as Mishpachat Hashchol. Publicly expressed grief becomes the language of the masses and the soundtrack of the nation.
Very few books in Israeli literature have so bravely dealt with the looming fear of death that surrounds Israeli society. Grossman does this so vehemently that it is hard to separate his bravery as an author from his bravery as a father who lost a son in the Second Lebanon War while writing this book. His message is unequivocal: the cost of living in Israel is that society is slowly losing its sense of normality.
Grossman spared no detail or emotion when he wrote this book. He did not leave one wound untouched or one fear forgotten. He evokes sadness in the reader, because the novel forces one to realize, at times, how abnormal life can be in Israel.Read more ›
Ora pleads with her reclusive old friend and former lover, Avram, erstwhile best friend to Ilan, to accompany her to the Galilee. She believes that, with Avram, they can form a thread that ties them to the land, to nature, to safety, to Ofer, and weave a tapestry that protects him from peril. With Avram, she can magically keep Ofer alive. No one else can extinguish bad thoughts and assist her to defy fate.
"...she was always easy with Avram, letting him see all of her, almost from the first moment she met him, because she had a feeling, a conviction that there was something inside her, or someone, perhaps an Ora more loyal to her own essence, more precise and less vague, and Avram seemed to have a way to reach her."
Years ago, Avram and Ilan were soldiers together, and the story explains how Avram lost his artistic spirit and love of words and suffered permanent damage and a death of the soul. As they hike, climb and acclimate to the wild terrain, Ora recapitulates the story of her family--the details of raising her sons and her forsaken marriage to Ilan. The germination and withering of the friendship between Ora, Avram, and Ilan is recounted in flashbacks and threaded into her story as a wife and mother.Read more ›
On the whole this novel did not work for me but I cannot say that I did not like the book. There are aspects of its 600 pages that really engaged me and I found deeply poignant and valuable. However, I believe less is more in literature and that creative expression is much more exquisite and impressive with an economy of words. The overindulgence in the psyche of To the End of the Land's main character, a middle-aged Israeli woman named Ora, is overwrought and causes the pacing of the novel to falter. Any dramatic tension in the plot seems to get overwhelmed or even lost in the author's prolonged verbosity.
The novel does have its arresting moments of beautiful eloquence and stunning imagery but it is strenuous reading to find those hidden literary gems. They are buried deep within Ora's stream-of-consciousness inner dialogues and contemplative programming which are dull, repetitious and tedious. I felt trapped and suffocated inside Ora's head. Nor could I warm up to her character. I found her too narrow, too self-absorbed, too boring.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A difficult read because of the subject matter, but very well written and captivating.Published 4 months ago by Sara
Exceptionally well written novel that captures the many ongoing, emotikn and political personal and public conflicts that play a role in the daily lives of Israelis. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Shani
I borrowed this book from the library because the catalog listed it as a book about the Yom Kippur War, which is my interest. I diligently started reading. Read morePublished 8 months ago by a-i
Brilliant novel and heart-wrenching at times in the pain it reveals. But I found it too full of Ora's thoughts; by the halfway mark I didn't want to know more.Published 8 months ago by Catherine Onyemelukwe
Savor the words and take the time to really read what the author is saying. Can't begin to encapsulate the emotions this book touches on for mothers, fathers, wives and husbands.Published 9 months ago by J. KELLER
For the American reader this is a very "foreign" novel, and a generally strange novel. Reviewed in the Israeli press as "the closest thing to an anti-war novel that... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Brenda Teese