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4 April 1991
To Know a Woman 
by Amos Oz, translated by Nicholas de Lange.
Chatto, 265 pp., £13.99, February 1991, 0 7011 3572 7
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The Smile of the Lamb 
by David Grossman, translated by Betsy Rosenberg.
Cape, 325 pp., £13.99, February 1991, 0 224 02639 9
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... Amos Oz and DavidGrossman are both political writers. This might seem an obvious statement, given that they are well-known for being politically vocal and have both written political (non-fiction) books consisting of ...
23 June 1988
The Yellow Wind 
by David Grossman, translated by Haim Watzman.
Cape, 202 pp., £10.95, June 1988, 9780224025669
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... of history than this far corner of Lebanon from which he would, within three years, be driven even further away? Eight years later, in the Deheisha refugee camp on the occupied West Bank, DavidGrossman experienced a faintly similar phenomenon. He was listening to an old Palestinian woman remembering her past, in the village of Ain Azrab, baking bread over a straw fire, the woman all the time ...

Heaps upon Heaps

Jenny Diski: The myth of Samson

20 July 2006
Lion’s Honey: The Myth of Samson 
by David Grossman.
Canongate, 155 pp., £12.99, June 2006, 1 84195 656 2
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... 16 of the Book of Judges, and what do you see there? Is it Samson the hero, Samson the lummox, or Samson the poster boy for gang moronics, for self-destructive, incommensurate revenge? According to DavidGrossman, all Jewish children when they first hear the story learn to call him Samson the Hero. He is wrong about this, but then my Jewish childhood was not in Hebrew or in Israel. I recall the ...

Failed State

Jacqueline Rose: David Grossman

18 March 2004
Death as a Way of Life: Dispatches from Jerusalem 
by David Grossman.
Bloomsbury, 179 pp., £8.99, April 2003, 0 7475 6619 4
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Someone to Run With 
by David Grossman.
Bloomsbury, 374 pp., £7.99, March 2004, 9780747568124
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... In DavidGrossman’s 1998 novel, Be My Knife, an antiquarian book-dealer starts a passionate correspondence with a woman whom he has barely caught sight of across a room. The unlikely circumstances of their ...

Uncle Kingsley

Patrick Parrinder

22 March 1990
The folks that live on the hill 
by Kingsley Amis.
Hutchinson, 246 pp., £12.95, March 1990, 0 09 174137 8
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Kingsley Amis: An English Moralist 
by John McDermott.
Macmillan, 270 pp., £27.50, January 1989, 9780333449691
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In the Red Kitchen 
by Michèle Roberts.
Methuen, 148 pp., £11.99, March 1990, 9780413630209
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See Under: Love 
by David Grossman, translated by Betsy Rosenberg.
Cape, 458 pp., £13.95, January 1990, 0 224 02640 2
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... and improper uses of language, is a way of both writing and not writing about being a writer. The other two novelists under review are more blatant in this respect, since both Michèle Roberts and DavidGrossman have written novels which pivot on the sentimental privileging of authorship. ‘I want to tell you my stories. I want to record my life with you. I want to give myself a history,’ insists ...

Make them go away

Neal Ascherson: Grossman’s Failure

3 February 2011
To the End of the Land 
by David Grossman, translated by Jessica Cohen.
Cape, 577 pp., £18.99, September 2010, 978 0 224 08999 9
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... when they actually get down to its pages, will leave many readers puzzled. Normally an author can deflect blurb hyperbole with a wince. But this fanfare has been on a Hollywood Bowl scale that does Grossman, who has proved himself in the past to be a wise and talented writer, no favours at all. ‘To read it is to have yourself taken apart, undone, touched at the place of your own essence; it is to be ...

In the Ice-Box

Janette Turner Hospital

12 January 1995
The Book of Intimate Grammar 
by David Grossman, translated by Betsy Rosenberg.
Cape, 343 pp., £14.99, September 1994, 0 224 03285 2
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... found the undeveloped foetus of his twin inside. History manifests itself in the body in multiple ways: as pain, as malformation, as stunted growth. In this novel, as in his earlier See Under: Love, DavidGrossman reveals himself as a compassionate epidemiologist for those who experience history as inexorably degenerative disease, for lives which might be said to suffer from history as claustrophobia ...
17 August 2006
... any opinion that was critical of the war. The media also fell back on the kitsch to which Israelis grow accustomed from childhood: the most menacing army in the region is described here as if it is David against an Arab Goliath. Yet the Jewish Goliath has sent Lebanon back 20 years, and Israelis themselves even further: we now appear to be a lynch-mob culture, glued to our televisions, incited by a ...

The Geneva Bubble

Ilan Pappe: The prehistory of the latest proposals

8 January 2004
... have ever made them. It’s a familiar scene. The various memoirs produced by the major players in the Oslo Accord suggest that much the same sort of thing was said there, while leaks from the Camp David summit in 2000 describe similar exchanges between Clinton, Barak and Arafat. In fact, the Israeli tone and attitude have barely changed since British despair led to the Palestine question being ...
24 February 1994
A History of the Hebrew Language 
by Angel Sáenz-Badillos, translated by John Elwolde.
Cambridge, 371 pp., £24.95, December 1993, 0 521 43157 3
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Language in Time of Revolution 
by Benjamin Harshav.
California, 234 pp., £19.95, September 1993, 0 520 07958 2
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... European – nothing would be lost by turning it into English or French or German. If one were to choose a page of Hebrew prose from one of the new Israeli novelists such as Meir Shalev and DavidGrossman, however, one would be more likely to encounter dense constellations of idioms, peculiar lexical usages and allusive resonances that are distinctively Hebrew, many going back to the Bible and the ...

Israel’s Putinisation

Adam Shatz: Israel’s Putinisation

18 February 2016
... bill, which would deny public funding to those who fail to demonstrate loyalty to the Jewish state. Hours after the bill was introduced, Im Tirtzu released a list of supposed ‘moles’, including DavidGrossman, Amos Oz and other members of the liberal Zionist establishment. This was too much even for Bennett, who described the list as ‘embarrassing’. But Regev is thought to be more in tune ...

Good Day, Comrade Shtrum

John Lanchester: Vasily Grossman’s Masterpiece

18 October 2007
Life and Fate 
by Vasily Grossman, translated by Robert Chandler.
Vintage, 864 pp., £9.99, October 2006, 0 09 950616 5
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... the modern to the postmodern: there is something pastiche-like about a great many contemporary writers, not least those who write in a personal voice which is in itself a variety of pastiche. Vasily Grossman’s masterpiece Life and Fate is fascinating for many reasons, and one of them is the way that it is both a pastiche and a personal statement; a conscious, cold-blooded attempt to sum up everything ...


Yonatan Mendel: How to Become an Israeli Journalist

6 March 2008
... never by its full name: Palestine is a word that is almost never used – there is a Palestinian president but no president of Palestine. ‘A society in crisis forges a new vocabulary for itself,’ DavidGrossman wrote in The Yellow Wind, ‘and gradually, a new language emerges whose words . . . no longer describe reality, but attempt, instead, to conceal it.’ This ‘new language’ was adopted ...


Jeremy Treglown

6 August 1992
Writers on World War Two: An Anthology 
edited by Mordecai Richler.
Chatto, 752 pp., £18.99, February 1992, 0 7011 3912 9
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Legacies and Ambiguities: Post-war Fiction and Culture in West Germany and Japan 
edited by Ernestine Schlant and Thomas Rimer.
Woodrow Wilson Center Press/Johns Hopkins, 323 pp., $35, February 1992, 0 943875 30 7
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... doing so can both console us and prevent us from becoming inured. But writers still keep on trying. Peter Porter, Martin Amis, the American cartoonist Art Spiegelman and the Soviet dissident Vasily Grossman are among the many who have done so for the Holocaust although none was ever an inmate of the camps. Of the four, Grossman came closest: born in 1905, a Jew, he spent the war as a reporter, and wrote ...
23 February 1995
... are supposedly bringing about. What hope, anyway, did these Palestinians ever have of recovering homes they left almost half a century ago? Israeli historians like Benny Morris, Israeli authors like DavidGrossman and Amos Oz, have written eloquently of their catastrophe. But in 1950, the Israeli government passed the Absentee Property Law which still forbids Selma Tawil and the other 750,000 ...

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