Sunday, December 09, 2012

To the End of the Land by David Grossman (Spoiler Alert!!)

Writing about books, like a book report or a book review, is not something that I have ever done. Never ever. Like I said before, I am more of a reader than a writer. But as I have undertaken this project of writing, I might as well introduce my readers (If they exist in the first place, LOL) to the books that I finish reading, as I finish them. So I will be, along with other stuff, be introducing my readers to books as I finish them.

The book I just finished reading is “To the End of the Land” by David Grossman. Here is the link to its Goodreads page: (Unfortunately I still don’t know how to make those hyperlinks here but I’d really appreciate it if somebody could explain it to me) Now my post includes spoilers, so if you don’t want the story ruined for you any further, don’t read any further. I just write about a book without including spoilers in it.

Normally I am a big fan of big thick books with tiny font. However, with this book, I felt like this book is just too long. It was too tedious a read for me. Like it just seemed never ending for me. Which is something I have never ever felt about a book, no matter how thick it is or long it is. Despite that, I still would recommend this book. The only reason I found it tedious is because of how deadly slow it can get. But yet, this is a very impacting book and that is the sole reason why I would recommend it.

This book was originally written in Hebrew, but then Jessica Cohen translated it into English from Hebrew. I read it in English as I don’t speak a word of Hebrew. The author has two sons, the elder one had finished his compulsory military duty, while the second one was doing it. Unfortunately, the second son died during the Second Lebanon War as the tank he was in was attacked. It was during this time did the author begin writing this book with the belief that “the book will protect his son” (A concept that has never made any sense to me, to be honest) but towards the end of the writing of the book, the son passed away.

This book even focuses on a military theme. It revolves around a couple, Ora and Ilan, their former best friend Avram, and Ora and Ilan’s two sons, Adam and Ofer. To summarize the story of this book, Ora and Ilan are recently estranged. Ora, along with her driver Sami, goes to drop Ofer to this place where soldiers go to when they have to report for active duty. Ofer has completed his compulsory military service but he decided to enlist in the army again. In the book we are first introduced to Ora’s relationship with Sami. This part seemed to go on too long for me.

Afterwards, Ora manages to track down Avram, whom she has not met or had contact with in years, and manages to convince him to go on a hike with her across northern Israel. The idea is to avoid any news from the front and any informers, as if the hike will save Ofer’s life. Over on the hike, where the rest of the book is situated, do we learn about the beginning of Ofer’s life up to his possible death, about Adam, about Ilan and about the nature of the friendship between Ilan, Avram and Ora. There are a lot of relationships/bonds that one has to keep track of throughout the book, Ora-Ilan, Adam-Ofer, Ora-Avram and Ilan-Avram. And another interesting relationship we explore is Ofer-Avram, as it turns out that Avram is Ofer’s biological father and Avram has never met Ofer.

The idea behind the hike was to somehow protect Ofer by bringing both his biological parents together and keep on discussing him and talking about him. However, in the end we are not told if Ofer dies or if he still lives. But personally, I get the impression that it is more likely that he has, in fact, died.

It is a very impacting book as it really goes into the nature of human relationships. And it really talks about fate too. Because Ora had to take names out of a hat (either Avram or Ilan) and it was because Avram’s name came was this whole story able to take place. If Ilan’s name came, most likely none of these events would have taken place. The theme of fate and how one moment can change your life forever really appealed to me.

So basically I would recommend this book due to its impacting element. But remember that there is a lot to keep track while reading it because of the numerous relationships the author is exploring. The major drawback of this book however is that it is just too long at times as the author has like dragged stuff too much, especially Ora’s relationship with Sami, as it doesn’t seem to be important to the story.

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