Ora is about to celebrate her son Ofer's release from Israeli army service when he voluntarily rejoins his unit for a major offensive. In a fit of magical thinking, she takes off to hike in the Galilee, leaving no forwarding information for the 'notifiers' who might darken her door. This is comforting logic: if she cannot be told of Ofer's death, he must remain alive. Recently estranged from her husband Ilan, she drags along an unlikely companion: their once best friend Avram, Ofer's true father, who was tortured as a POW during the Yom Kippur War and refused to ever know the boy. Reunited after 21 years, Ora and Avram hike the Israel Trail, a walk 'to the end of the land', and she gives him the gift of Ofer, unfurling the story of the family's once happy, now shattered existence - a retelling that keeps Ofer alive for both his mother and the reader. This illuminating walk places the most hideous trials of war alongside the quotidian business of raising children; never have we seen so clearly the surreality of life in Israel, the currents of ambivalence about war within one household, and the burdens it piles on each generation anew. To the End of the Land is a modern War and Peace, told in a series of powerful overlapping circles moving backwards in time. Grossman's rich imagining of a family in love and crisis is one of the great anti-war novels of our time.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 09 / 2010