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Een Vrouw Op De Vlucht Voor Een Bericht (2008)

by David Grossman(Favorite Author)
3.88 of 5 Votes: 5
9059362632 (ISBN13: 9789059362635)
review 1: Ora, Avram, and Ilan meet as teenagers in the 1960's. They are all Isreali, very sick (hepatitis?), and left for dead inside a dark (power outages), evacuated hospital. Together they listen to the bombing going on all around them and talk each other through their fever-induced deliriums. A life-long bond is formed- 3 best friends - family.Fast-forward 40 years. Ora's life has fallen apart. Her husband, Ilan, has left her. Her oldest son, Adam, went with him, scorning Ora before he left. Her younger son, Ofer, has turned away from her and become an unrecognizable soldier. He passes on a hiking retreat with Ora in order to rejoin the war after his release from the Isreali army. Ora is shattered. In a crazed daze, she seeks out Avram, who she has not spoken to in three years.... more She forces him on the hiking trip that she was supposed to take with Ofer in the Galilee, harboring the superstition that if she can keep moving (and the army notifiers cannot find her to tell her that Ofer is dead) that she will be keeping her son alive and safe. The rest of the novel is dialogue between Ora and Avram, along with recollections inside Ora's head, about the past. We learn how Ora and Avram's relationship crumbled apart when they were younger (Ora chose straws to choose which of the two best friends would get to come home on leave. During that leave, Avram was sent to battle where he was taken POW in Egypt, physically tortured, and psychologically ruined. She and Ilan took care of him when he returned, but life was changed, and they have always felt responsible). We learn about Ofer's real parentage and all of the tiny moments and experiences that made up his childhood and adolescence. We find out why Ora is now alone. Ora must come to terms with the war, her family, her long and complicated relationship with Avram, and herself. I really like the writing style and the stories told within this book. The characters are heartfelt and dynamic. The story is realistic. There are many passages that are heartrending - Ofer as a child, learning where meat comes from, Avram's experiences as POW, Ora's angst over watching her husband and children change before her eyes. 2 reasons I am only giving it a 4-star rating: 1. The ending. It is left extremely open. Just by the way the story was woven I knew early on that it would likely be open-ended and felt okay about that. However, I was hoping for closure on some things at least. Instead, I feel that we lose sight of Ora, Avram, and the rest at a random middle point of their hike, in the middle of an emotional crisis, and it leaves just too many strings unwound. 2. Ora's internal struggle with feelings toward Muslims twanged a nerve with me (we see an ugly side of her)- although it was entirely realistic for her character due to her and her family's experiences in the war, the complicated dynamic between her and her driver Sami, and where she grew up. Ora has trouble deciding if she fears and hates them for what she has seen and who she has lost during her war-torn life (seen when she feels fear at hearing Arabic speech, her loss of control and dominance over Sami, or the vengeful hacking up of vegetables for the salad), or whether she yearns for peace and friendship with them (seen at times when she drives with Sami, when she picnics with the family in Galilee, or during her ultimate breakdown with Ofer and her family). However, I have been thinking about this a lot, and after reading the author's end note (Grossman wrote this book as a sort of talisman against death while his own two sons were fighting in the war...before he completed the novel, his youngest son, along with his unit, was killed), I don't know if he could have written this book with any less soul-searching and torn tone toward the opposing side.Overall, a thought-provoking novel well worth reading.
review 2: Two State, One State: The Dilemma of Israel and Palestine in Two BooksThe New York Times carried a very interesting essay earlier this week by Anthony Lerman, "The End of Liberal Zionism." This summer's war in Gaza underscores the difficulties Jews who embrace liberal values have with the coalition of right wing and theologically pure interests which now hold sway in Israel. I've invited my liberal Jewish friends to comment on Facebook, but so far I have no input from them.So I've returned to thinking about two books read in recent months which gie fascinatin background to the ongoing troubles between Irsaellis and Palestinians. The first is David Grossman's To the End of the Land and the other is Guy Delisle's Jerusalem Chronicles: Tales from the Holy City.The former novel is by one of Israel's best known novelists and tells the story of a woman who through magical thinking tries to stop learning that her son has been killed during the last Israeli conflict with Lebanon. Rooted in a walking trip the Grossman himself took through his country, it examines how it got to its current sorry state. Too long by about 50 pages (the book would have profited from an editor cutting out a sentence here and another one there), the novel nevertheless is engrossing on a human level: I understood completely why the heroine covered up the windows on her door so she wouldn't see the messenger of death arrive. After reading it I also could appreciate much better why Israeli is the way it is today. My admiration for Grossman only grew when I learned that one of his sons was killed in the final days of the Lebanon incursion. Hedid not succumb to rage at what had happened, but continued to work on his rather measured account.The second book is a graphic novel that Delisle wrote after he and his family spent in a year in Jerusalem while his wife worked for Doctors without Borders. It's a view you won't find anywhere else, and a great complement to Grossman's novel.Grossman, by the way, wrote an eloquent plea in the July 28, 2014 New York Times, that could be an answer to the Lerman's much less hopeful piece. He concludes as if to point out to Lerman where liberal Jews are now:"There are many who still “remember the future” (an odd phrase, but an accurate one in this context) — the future they want for Israel, and for Palestine. There are still — but who knows for how much longer — people in Israel who understand that if we sink into apathy again we will be leaving the arena to those who would drag us fervently into the next war, igniting every possible locus of conflict in Israeli society as they go."If we do not do this, we will all — Israelis and Palestinians, blindfolded, our heads bowed in stupor, collaborating with hopelessness — continue to turn the grindstone of this conflict, which crushes and erodes our lives, our hopes and our humanity." less
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A punch to the gut ending! At times I thought the writing lagged, but always pulled me back in.
I cant get thru this freaking bk. I hate it. Or rather i hate her. Tried 3 times...
was happy to meet the author, introducing his book
A look at the pressures of daily life in Israel.
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