MOTEV favorite David Grossman is a novelist I don't know as well as I'd like - the galley of his latest novel, To the End of the Land has been staring reproachfully (albeit prominently) at me since BEA - but George Packer's outstanding profile in the New Yorker has me resolved to change that. (I've ordered See Under: Love, and The Book of Intimate Grammar, but if TEV readers have any additional recommendations, I'm all ears.)
Among the first visitors to the Grossman house that week [after the death of his son] were Oz and Yehoshua. Grossman confided to Oz, “I’m afraid I will not be able to save the book,” to which Oz replied, “The book will save you.” Yehoshua told him, “Don’t change the book. It is an organic thing. Go with the book, and the new elements that will enter, let them enter.”
The day after the end of shivah, Grossman returned to his novel. Everything was now broken to pieces—the world was no longer a home. Yet if this was to be his fate he wanted to explore its every nuance, and in this novel he could. The book would become his home. For that, at least, he was grateful. The story and the themes of the novel didn’t change, but the process of writing became heightened, as if he were seeing with new eyes.
Within a year, the novel was finished, and in 2008 “Isha Borachat Mi’bsora” (“Woman Flees Tidings”) was published in Israel. An English translation, by Jessica Cohen, appears this month, under the title “To the End of the Land.”
Grossman told me, “This book was such an act of choosing life.”