David Grossman, the Israeli writer tells Genevieve Fox how he took refuge in his work when his son was killed by a missile, as we enter Week One of the Telegraph Book Club.
By Genevieve Fox
I am fascinated by families,” David Grossman says from his home on the outskirts of Jerusalem. “The most dramatic and meaningful moments have not occurred on the battlefield or in parliament, but in the kitchen. That, partly, is what To the End of the Land is about.”
Those moments have certainly been played out in Grossman’s own home. His son Uri was killed by a Hizbollah missile in 2006, when he was 20, on the last day of the second Lebanon War. Days earlier, Israel’s leading novelist had beseeched his prime minister to reach a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hizbollah forces in Lebanon.
To the End of the Land, which Grossman started writing in 2003, is a novel about the primal power of motherly love and the miracle of brotherly love. When Ofer voluntarily rejoins the army two weeks after being discharged, his mother, Ora, leaves her home and hikes across Israel to Galilee. This time she will not be home if the “notifiers” come with news she has been dreading for three years. Grossman was close to finishing the novel when the notifiers came knocking on his door.
By Alexis Simendinger
If Americans imagine that President Obama is spending his summer vacation on Martha’s Vineyard holed up with tomes like “How to Get What You Want” or “Harvard Business Review on Decision Making” or “Federal Income Taxation Concepts and Insights,” think again.
The president enjoys fiction, and he likes books that come off the shelf the old-fashioned paper way. He’s fond of novels and family dramas more than weighty nonfiction when it comes to his vacations, according to a book list released by the White House on Saturday afternoon. There was, by the way, one nonfiction selection that seems likely to end up on the bedside tables of both Barack and Michelle Obama.
The president, who earned a small fortune writing two best-selling books about his own life, shopped Friday for 20 minutes with his daughters at the Bunch of Grapes bookstore on the island before spending a long afternoon playing golf.
Although the White House did not disclose what Malia and Sasha chose to read during their break from Washington, the president purchased at least two books his aides identified as Daniel Woodrell’s Louisiana-inspired crime collection titled “The Bayou Trilogy: Under the Bright Lights, Muscle for the Wing, and The Ones You Do,” and a Chicago-based novel by Ward Just, “Rodin’s Debutante.”
The president arrived on Martha’s Vineyard, aides said, toting Abraham Verghese’s “Cutting for Stone,” a novel about twin brothers born to an Indian mother and a British father who journey from Ethiopia to America; David Grossman’s “To the End of the Land,” a family drama set in Israel; and the narrative nonfiction book “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration,” about the exodus of blacks from the South, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson.