Blog reader, Betsy S. recently recommended To The End of the Land by prominent Israeli author, David Grossman. I wanted to share her comments as it's such a timely topic. Released in 2010, this novel was started three years before his son, Uri's death in a Mid-East conflict. Reviewers agreed To the End of the Land is a compelling and profound read.

Betsy said....

"I could not put this book down. The humanity of the characters, the intensity of the relationships, the backdrop of Israeli history, the poignancy of current events left me absolutely breathless..."

Front Cover 

To the End of the Land tells the story of Ora, who leaves her home in Jerusalem to walk across Israel to Galilee, in order to avoid the "notifiers" who might arrive at any moment to inform her of the death of her son. It is the trip they had planned together to celebrate his discharge from military service. Instead, he volunteers to rejoin the army in a high-intensity offensive – "a kick-ass operation" – against the Palestinians at the start of the second intifada. 

Ofer has been lost to his mother "forever from the moment he was nationalised". Her husband, Ilan, has left her, taking her other son, Adam, with him to South America, after she failed to support Ofer when he was investigated over an incident in Hebron which left a Palestinian trapped in a meat-locker for two days. 

Ora is, among many other things, her son's failed conscience, a voice of caution for him and for her country which neither wishes to hear. Her love for him is limitless, but when he justifies the recourse to violence against the Palestinians, her sole focus is on saving "her child from the barbarian standing opposite her".

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The director, screenwriter, actor, artist and author, most recently, of “The First Bad Man,” can’t stand Garfield. “That dumb man and his dumb, mean cat have gotten more of our attention than they deserve.”  She says it like it is....and so does her debut novel.
Critics called this new book "slyly hilarious and infused with raging sexual obsession and fierce maternal love". It's been labeled dazzling, disorienting, and unforgettable. The First Bad Man will definetly be my next read....once I plow through All the Light I Cannot See which is very...slow...moving. I'm so ready for something exhilarating and unputdownable!
Here's a short review...

The First Bad Man by Miranda July

Miranda July is no slouch. Not only is she a filmmaker, a writer, an artist, and an actor, but now, with The First Bad Man (Scribner), she is also a novelist. What’s next, you may ask, cosmonaut? Well, if you consider exploring the surreal outer reaches of the emotional cosmos—galaxies of loneliness and sexual perversity, the mysterious moons of motherhood—then, yes, Miranda July is also a cosmonaut. Certainly, the star of her astonishing novel, Cheryl Glickman—eccentric, middle-aged, and childless—is out there. Cheryl’s life turns on her obsession with a no-good Lothario she believes was her lover in past lives, and a baby boy she bonded with as a girl. That is until Clee, the beautiful, violent, selfish 21-year-old daughter of her employers, comes to live with her, and knocks her world off its axis. In one novel, July tells us more about our universal need to be loved, and our ability to love and be loved, than most earthbound authors will in a lifetime.

UPDATE: I found this book to be very disappointing on so many levels. Don't waste your time....


 What's coming out in 2015? Having read two really good books on vacation (Scroll down to see reviews) and several not so good, I'm anxiously searching for some year-ahead lists. 

Should I start HONEYDEW by Edith Pearlman? The Times and Boston Globe wrote glowing reviews...or start reading some neglected downloads on my Kindle, overlooked in favor of Words With Friends, the Daily Mail Gossip Page and a quirky Sue Grafton mystery? But that's another story... 

Those who can’t face living in the present, the end of all the retrospective 2014 lists doesn’t have to spell doom. It’s time to see what the future brings....

Here's what John Williams of the Times had to say.....

GOD HELP THE CHILD” due in April, is a short new novel by the Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison about childhood trauma and its reverberations in adulthood. From the slender to the sizable, April also sees the publication in English of the fourth volume of "MY STRUGGLE" Karl Ove Knausgaard’s series of six autobiographical novels. This one finds him as a teenager, attempting to kick-start a writing career while teaching at a school in a tiny village in the Arctic. Contemplation, no doubt, ensues.

"OUR SOULS AT NIGHT" the last novel by Kent Haruf, who died at 71 in November, is slated for May. It’s set in the fictional town of Holt, Colo., which will be familiar to readers of Haruf’s previous novels. The same month, Nell Zink, whose short novel “The Wallcreeper” drew praise just this past October, wastes no time publishing her second book, " MISLAID" also in May. 

September will bring at least one guaranteed best seller: Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, "PURITY" which revolves around a young woman named Purity, or Pip, who investigates the identity of her father. Also scheduled for September is “THE TSAR OF LOVE AND TECHNO"  a collection of stories by Anthony Marra, whose first novel, “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena,” was published in 2013 to widespread acclaim. 

Other writers with new books scheduled for 2015 include Miranda July, Kazuo Ishiguro, Jane Smiley, Nick Hornby and, in English translation, Mario Vargas Llosa.


Who doesn't need a thrill once in awhile and nothing like a good thriller to fill the need...The Girl on the TRAIN received glowing reviews by two blog readers..."Glowing" may be a little excessive...but I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read my blog, so I'll take their word for it...See what you think....
Here's a brief summary from Book Page...

The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train
By Paula Hawkins
Since the blockbuster success of Gillian Flynn's 2012 thriller, contenders for the title of "the next  Gone Girl have been plentiful. Our choice for the winner is this cleverly constructed and relentlessly suspenseful story of a commuter who catches daily glimpses of a "perfect, golden couple" whose Victorian home adjoins the railroad tracks. When their lives take a dramatic turn for the worse one night, readers won't know who—or what—to believe about what really happened.

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