David Grossman’s Latest Is a Winner
Book Festival PreviewCommunity

David Grossman’s Latest Is a Winner

Like many of his previous books, the Israeli novelist’s “More Than I Love My Life” is a first-person narrative that deals with the complex love between mothers and their children.

Some people read books to escape reality. Some read for historical context and knowledge. Others are willing to delve deep into human relationships and an intense understanding of human nature and life. Those so inclined — and strong enough for a challenging read — should seek out Israeli author David Grossman’s latest book, “More Than I Love My Life,” published by Alfred A. Knopf and translated from the original Hebrew by Jessica Cohen, who is known for her translations of other well-known Israeli authors.

This novel, based on the story of a much-admired Yugoslav woman — as well as the gulags established by former Premier Josip Tito — takes place mostly in Eastern Europe, and in the minds of its central characters. In that, the book differs from Grossman’s “To the End of the Land,” published in 2011, which is Israeli to its core.

Yet, there are many similarities. Both books deal with the complex love between mothers and their children. Both are written from the first-person narrative, in a free-flowing style; people’s thoughts often go on tangents and interrupt themselves.

Readers may become confused when Grossman shifts from first person to third person or refers to “the girl,” but the narrator quickly apologizes and explains that “the first person is too painful.” The reader may start to think that the family in the story is the very definition of dysfunctional, but then Grossman himself points out that the term, healthy family, is an oxymoron.

The author’s ability to look deep into the human experience is clear in his latest creation. He has a way of describing experiences familiar to his readers, but in a much clearer way than even they are able to express.

Similar “To the End of the Land,” Grossman takes the readers on figurative and literal journeys. And once the reader is seized by the story, there’s no turning back. That’s probably why Grossman is one of Israel’s most praised authors, with books sold internationally in 36 languages.

Born in Jerusalem and still living there, Grossman is the recipient of many significant international awards, including the Man Booker International Prize in 2017 for his “A Horse Walks Into a Bar.”

David Grossman will appear in conversation with Jessica Handler in a livestreamed event on Oct. 22, 1:00 p.m. EST.

read more: