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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,266 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Grossman Narrator: Arthur Morey Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2010 ISBN: 9780307875730
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From one of Israel’s most acclaimed writers comes a novel of extraordinary power about family life—the greatest human drama—and the cost of war.

Ora, a middle-aged Israeli mother, is on the verge of celebrating her son Ofer’s release from army service when he returns to the front for a major offensive. In a fit of preemptive grief and magical thinking, she sets out for a hike in the Galilee, leaving no forwarding information for the “notifiers” who might darken her door with the worst possible news. Recently estranged from her husband, Ilan, she drags along an unlikely companion: their former best friend and her former lover Avram, once a brilliant artistic spirit. Avram served in the army alongside Ilan when they were young, but their lives were forever changed one weekend when the two jokingly had Ora draw lots to see which of them would get the few days’ leave being offered by their commander—a chance act that sent Avram into Egpyt and the Yom Kippur War, where he was brutally tortured as POW. In the aftermath, a virtual hermit, he refused to keep in touch with the family and has never met the boy. Now, as Ora and Avram sleep out in the hills, ford rivers, and cross valleys, avoiding all news from the front, she gives him the gift of Ofer, word by word; she supplies the whole story of her motherhood, a retelling that keeps Ofer very much alive for Ora and for the reader, and opens Avram to human bonds undreamed of in his broken world. Their walk has a “war and peace” rhythm, as their conversation places the most hideous trials of war next to the joys and anguish of raising children. Never have we seen so clearly the reality and surreality of daily life in Israel, the currents of ambivalence about war within one household, and the burdens that fall on each generation anew.

Grossman’s rich imagining of a family in love and crisis makes for one of the great antiwar novels of our time.

From the Hardcover edition. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • This is a book of overwhelming power and intensity, David Grossman's masterpiece. Flaubert created his Emma, Tolstoy made his Anna, and now we have Grossman's Ora—as fully alive, as fully embodied, as any character in recent fiction. I devoured this long novel in a feverish trance. Wrenching, beautiful, unforgettable. Paul Auster
  • Very rarely, a few times in a lifetime, you open a book and when you close it again nothing can ever be the same. Walls have been pulled down, barriers broken, a dimension of feeling, of existence itself, has opened in you that was not there before. To the End of the Land is a book of this magnitude. David Grossman may be the most gifted writer I've ever read; gifted not just because of his imagination, his energy, his originality, but because he has access to the unutterable, because he can look inside a person and discover the unique essence of her humanity. For twenty-six years he has been writing novels about what it means to defend this essence, this unique light, against a world designed to extinguish it. To the End of the Land is his most powerful, shattering, and unflinching story of this defense. To read it is to have yourself taken apart, undone, touched at the place of your own essence; it is to be turned back, as if after a long absence, into a human being. Nicole Krauss
  • One of the 2010 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anne Flanagan | 2/18/2014

    " This novel is unlike any other I've read - in terms of content and knowing the circumstances of the author's own siutation and loss. I enjoyed the book - I felt, however, it was too long at times. The details of the lives of her sons, provided by Ora, could have been truncated without losing the power of the narrative. Overall a very memorable book with powerful imagery and style. If I had been the editor I probably would have shaved off about 100 pages and it still would resonate with the power that it has. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pamela | 12/27/2013

    " A huge, orchestral, rambling, occasionally hysterical, deeply emotional and significant novel on family, Israel, war, and love of and fear for one's children. I thought I knew a thing or two about Israel but before this book I did not feel in my bones the way in which the political situation in that country literally maddens its inhabitants. Ora, Avram, and Ilan are three teenagers who form an intense bond when they are all hospitalized with hepatitis in a nearly abandoned hospital during the Six-Day War. Later, the Yom Kippur War, Avram is captured by the Egyptian Army, harshly tortured, and returns a broken man. In the meantime, Ora and Ilan have married. Although Avram separates himself from the couple for long periods of time, there are past and current realities that tie the three of them intimately and permanently together (I don't want to give away too much here). The novel opens (after a short Prologue) with Ora and Ilan's younger son, Ofer, now twenty-one, volunteering for an emergency army call-up after having just finished his three-year mandatory stint. Just when she thought her sons had made it through their army service safely, Ora once again must fear for Ofer's life, and this fear practically unhinges her. She decides that if she does not stay at home--for home is where army officials bring the news of a soldier's death--she will magically be able to keep her son from harm. She insists that Avram, fragile as he is, accompany her on an extended hiking trip through the north of Israel. Completely out of touch with what Israelis call "the news," refusing to be anywhere where they might hear it, they re-live much of their past: friendship and war, grief and madness, as well as the sporadic fullness and calm of family life. Somehow this novel manages to be about both global politics and the most idiosyncratic, intimate moments of love. A truly rich and important book which I will want to read again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynn Dolven | 12/26/2013

    " This book is one of the most difficult to read I have picked up in a long time. It is set in Israel in the 1960s to the 2000s. It explores the emotional depths of Ora, a woman who married one man, Ilan, had a son with him, Adam, had an affair with her husband's friend, Avram, and had a son with him, Ofer. The husband and his friend served in the Israeli army in the war with Egypt in the Sinai Penninsula, and the friend was captured and tortured. Both of her sons fulfilled their obligatory service in the IDF. When her younger son's service is about to end, Ora plans a hiking trip with him to celebrate. Instead, he reenlists in the IDF, and she takes the hiking trip with Avram, Ofer's father. Because Avram had never been part of Ofer's life, Ora tells him about Ofer's life during the hiking trip as a means of protecting Ofer from harm. She thinks that if she isn't home to get the news of his death, he won't die. The book is a roller coaster of emotion, the gut-wrenching, heart-wrenching kind. At the end, you learn that the author had two sons, both of whom served in the IDF and one of whom died in Lebanon - more than the ultimate irony because he had finished writing the book before his son died. The author obviously isn't a "hawk," and believes in the enduring bond between a parent and child. The book is stunning, but exhausting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heather Richardson | 12/23/2013

    " I gave up on this one, I'm afraid. The writing is terrific, but it's almost too rich. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lynnnadeau | 10/24/2013

    " The story line brief, the thoughts careful and wise, the characters odd, the book compelling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Worth | 9/7/2013

    " Dreamy yet vivid novel about modern life in Israel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynne | 8/17/2013

    " This was a difficult book to read due to the subject matter and the excruciating detail. I came away feeling perhaps I understood war's costs in a way I never had before. Here an Israeli mother unfolds the life of her son for the father he never knew. There is a desperation to the telling...as if the memories alone can save her son from death in the Israeli army. The twist is that his father was badly damaged when he was captured and tortured by the Egyptians during an earlier conflict...and the stories become his own path back to life. When I was near the end (and Grossman reveals this in an afterward), I learned that the author's own son, and one of his most interested readers, was killed on an army maneuver shortly before the book was completed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kira | 7/13/2013

    " OMG this was disturbing, and sad. But SO good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin Shannon | 7/10/2013

    " This may be the last book I truly loved reading. I finished it last year and am adding it to my list to impress any critics out there. The allegory of this one family's saga with the history of Israel, and being done with such a light touch was a blessing. Recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle Berkowitz | 7/7/2013

    " Very disappointing ending. Overall, I really enjoyed the book, but I reading to find out what happened in the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennyreadsexcessively | 6/10/2013

    " Israel, very challenging read of mother with anxiety about son in the military, this acutely substantial novel requires slow reading, and knowing the author's personal story...-well I'm glad I read this amazing work "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vee | 3/22/2013

    " I loved this book. Beautifully written and a profound reflection on life - memories love loss sorrow all captured in that unique israeli prose. Wonderful "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Noreen | 3/9/2013

    " An extraordinary book, but exceedingly difficult to read, especially if you have a 22-year-old son. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aleksandra | 11/11/2012

    " A devastating book. Beautiful and heart-breaking. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 10/21/2012

    " I read it in German - I like the German title "Eine Frau flieht vor einer Nachricht" ("A woman flees from a message"). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 9/25/2012

    " This is an important book to understand the pain Israeli parents live with as their children enter the army. Wonderful "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lili Gersch | 12/9/2011

    " It was every best-of list of 2010 for a reason. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachael Bush | 11/19/2011

    " Heart wrenching and beautiful...all at the same time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Ellen | 10/23/2011

    " Beautiful exploration of the largest themes but also the miniature details of everyday life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ellen | 7/29/2011

    " What an intense read! When I got to the end, I was sitting in a Le Pain Quotidien on the Upper West Side with tears streaming down my face and people staring at me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 6/24/2011

    " Love and war of in Israel, told in such an intimate and unusual way. Like no other book I have ever read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nora | 6/14/2011

    " - a good but intense book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michele | 6/10/2011

    " Love, love, love this important novel. Perhaps one of the greatest books about Peace written in many, many years. I cannot recommend this author or this work enough. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kay | 5/29/2011

    " An intense story about an Israeli woman trying to come to terms with her fear and the events in her life by hiking though Israel and trying to describe her sons and her feelings. Beautifully written, captures the difficulty of explaining a person's life and holding that life close. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rose2468 | 5/19/2011

    " I liked the english title better than the hebrew one. "

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About the Author
Author David Grossman

David Grossman was born in Jerusalem. He is the author of numerous works of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s literature. His work has appeared in the New Yorker and has been translated into thirty languages. He is the recipient of many prizes, including the French Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the Buxtehuder Bulle in Germany, Rome’s Premio per la Pace e l’Azione Umitaria, the Premio Ischia–International Award for Journalism, Israel’s Emet Prize, and the Albatross Prize given by the Günter Grass Foundation.

About the Narrator

Arthur Morey has won three AudioFile Magazine “Best Of” Awards, and his work has garnered numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards and placed him as a finalist for the Audie Award. He has acted in a number of productions, both Off-Broadway in New York and Off-Loop in Chicago. He graduated from Harvard and did graduate work at the University of Chicago. He has won awards for his fiction and drama, worked as an editor with several book publishers, and taught literature and writing at Northwestern University. His plays and songs have been produced in New York, Chicago, and Milan, where he has also performed.