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Writing in the Dark: Essays on Literature and Politics Paperback – September 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Grossman is more than just another talented writer: Like Václav Havel, he is a moralist, a man with a conscience whose words cry out for absolute truth and fariness.” ―Newsday
“One of contemporary literature's most versatile and absorbing writers.” ―San Francisco Chronicle
“No other Israeli writer so far has approached the touchy subject [os Israeli Arabs]] with such compassion, or looked at it with, so to speak, bifocal eyes, Israeli and Palestenian.” ―The New York Review of Books
“An extended rumination on the struggle and the thrill of shaping words in to stories and reclaiming their meaning and beauty.” ―The Nation
“The Israeli Orwell . . . [Grossman] is a writer for the world stage, and the world has much need of him.” ―The Buffalo News
“[Grossman] asks the most difficult and searching questions. . . . His words have a tremendous, forceful eloquence about them, from first to last. . . . A delight to read . . . powerfully humanistic.” ―The Independent (UK)
Top Customer Reviews
Many of these essays touch on Grossman's love of reading and the effect of literature on his life. In one essay, he describes reading a good book: "I read the book over the course of one day and night in a total frenzy of the senses, and my feeling--which now slightly embarrasses me--will be familiar to anyone who has been in love: it was the knowledge that this other person or thing was meant only for me."
In addition to writing and reading, a couple of these essays touch on politics, particularly in relation to Israel, but this is not a political book in the usual sense. Grossman clarifies, "I am not planning to talk 'politics,' but rather to address the intimate, internal processes that occur among those who live in a disaster zone, and the role of literature and writing in a climate as lethal as the one we live in."
Without a doubt, this is the best collection of essays I've read in years. I'm perplexed as to why this book has not received the attention it so clearly deserves.
WRITING IN THE DARK is not quite on the same plane as those three earlier books. It is a collection of six essays (or speeches) from between 1998 and 2007. As is almost inevitable with such collections, there is a certain measure of disjointedness or diffusion of focus. For the most part, they do not directly address the political situation in Israel or the schism between Israelis and Palestinians. The most "political" essay is the fifth (and best) one, "Contemplations on Peace", a lecture from 2004. In it Grossman considers how peace would help Israel develop normally as a state and society, perhaps even allow for the realization of a once fervently held dream of "a moral and just society, a society with a humanistic, spiritual vision, a society that would manage to integrate modern life with the ethics of the prophets and the finest Jewish values." Grossman fears that the protracted and constant state of war and anxiety will end up permanently stunting the development of Israel as a nation and that of its citizens as people.Read more ›
The book is a short one, only 130 pages, and there have already been a couple of excellent reviews posted. But such is the richness, and density of his essays, that I think there is still much that can be said without being repetitive. Differences provide for the viability of horse races and stock markets.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good book--not so dense. At the same time, not the most creative pieces I ever read..Great for writers and people interested in the literary wordPublished on February 3, 2013 by Michelle Cohen
My minor quibble first: a little bit of repetition. Otherwise, a fine book. With essays on how literature humanizes us and where politics may be lacking, David Grossman pulls... Read morePublished on May 3, 2010 by S. Swartz