The first Israeli novel written about the occupation of the West Bank, by one of the most influential writers of his generation
Uri and Katzman are Israeli soldiers occupying a Palestinian village in the West Bank. Uri is idealistic and full of hope, feels the injustice of the occupation keenly, and becomes close to Khilmi, the village storyteller. Katzman on the other hand is 'a contracted muscle' - he has taught himself not to feel. And Shosh, Uri's wife, daughter of liberal immigrant parents and juvenile psychiastrist, is succumbing to her own struggles with power and truth.
When Khilmi's adopted son is killed in a 'security operation' and when Uri discovers how far deception and injustice have penetrated into his own life, their reactions are drastic and unforseen.
“Bold, grand, mad, an astonishing meditation on art, religion, love, politics and war, despatched in language which is funny, ferocious and enraptured”
“A courageous novel, the first attempt by an Israeli author of the post-1967 generation to come to terms with the consequences of the Occupation, to articulate how 'the conqueror is also the conquered, and injustice has teeth in its tail'.”
“At once sensitive, humane, elegiac and devoid of optimism, save a vague faith in love”
“From its very first pages one is aware of Grossman's potential range and originality...Khilmi, an Arab storyteller, is the novel's great imaginative narrative achievement... What a rare pleasure to read a novel in which the novelist's narrative and ideas are so gripping, they are worth arguing about! Here we have authentic talent”
“His fiction is earnest, sympathetic, human and highly readable”
“Grossman has made a habit of peeling away the camouflage that obfuscates Israel's more painful wounds”
“An extraordinary achievement...moving, many-layered, powerful, yet written with beautiful delicacy of touch, is a work of redemption. Grossman reaches out to the other, and shows his readiness to describe the world anew, and so to transform a small part of it... Combining the compassionate wisdom of the moralist with a true artist's creative imagination, this book deserves the widest possible audience.”