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Falling Out of Time
Cover of Falling Out of Time
Falling Out of Time
Borrow Borrow

In this compassionate and genre-defying drama the internationally acclaimed author of To the End of the Land weaves an incandescent tale of parental grief. A powerful distillation of the experience of understanding and acceptance, and of art's triumph over death, Falling Out of Time is part play, part prose, and pure poetry. As Grossman's characters ultimately find solace and hope through their communal acts of mourning, readers will find comfort in their clamorous vitality, and in the gift of storytelling—a realm where loss is not an absence, but a life force in its own right.

In this compassionate and genre-defying drama the internationally acclaimed author of To the End of the Land weaves an incandescent tale of parental grief. A powerful distillation of the experience of understanding and acceptance, and of art's triumph over death, Falling Out of Time is part play, part prose, and pure poetry. As Grossman's characters ultimately find solace and hope through their communal acts of mourning, readers will find comfort in their clamorous vitality, and in the gift of storytelling—a realm where loss is not an absence, but a life force in its own right.

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Excerpts-
  • From the book town chronicler: As they sit eating dinner, the man's face suddenly turns. He thrusts his plate away. Knives and forks clang. He stands up and seems not to know where he is. The woman recoils in her chair. His gaze hovers around her without taking hold, and she—wounded already by disaster—senses immediately: it's here again, touching me, its cold fingers on my lips. But what happened? she whispers with her eyes. Bewildered, the man looks at her and speaks:

    —I have to go.

    —Where?

    —To him.

    —Where?

    —To him, there.

    —To the place where it happened?

    —No, no. There.

    —What do you mean, there?

    —I don't know.

    —You're scaring me.

    —Just to see him once more.

    —But what could you see now? What is left to see?

    —I might be able to see him there. Maybe even talk to him?

    —Talk?!

    town chronicler: Now they both unfold, awaken. The man speaks again.

    —Your voice.

    —It's back. Yours too.

    —How I missed your voice.

    —I thought we . . . that we'd never . . .

    —I missed your voice more than I missed my own.

    —But what is there? There's no such place. There doesn't exist!

    —If you go there, it does.

    —But you don't come back. No one ever has.

    —Because only the dead have gone.

    —And you—how will you go?

    —I will go there alive.

    —But you won't come back.

    —Maybe he's waiting for us.

    —He's not. It's been five years and he's still not. He's not.

    —Maybe he's wondering why we gave up on him so quickly, the minute they notified us . . .

    —Look at me. Look into my eyes. What are you doing to us? It's me, can't you see? This is us, the two of us. This is our home. Our kitchen. Come, sit down. I'll give you some soup.

    man:

    Lovely—

    So lovely—

    The kitchen

    is lovely

    right now,

    with you ladling soup.

    Here it's warm and soft,

    and steam

    covers the cold

    windowpane—

    town chronicler: Perhaps because of the long years of silence, his hoarse voice fades to a whisper. He does not take his eyes off her. He watches so intently that her hand trembles.

    man:

    And loveliest of all are your tender,

    curved arms.

    Life is here,

    dear one.

    I had forgotten:

    life is in the place where you

    ladle soup

    under the glowing light.

    You did well to remind me:

    we are here

    and he is there,

    and a timeless border

    stands between us.

    I had forgotten:

    we are here

    and he—

    but it's impossible!

    Impossible.

    woman:

    Look at me. No,

    not with that empty gaze.

    Stop.

    Come back to me,

    to us. It's so easy

    to forsake us, and this

    light, and tender

    arms, and the thought

    that we have come back

    to life,

    and that time

    nonetheless

    places thin compresses—

    man:

    No, this is impossible.

    It's no longer possible

    that we,

    that the sun,

    that the watches, the shops,

    that the moon,

    the couples,

    that tree-lined boulevards

    turn green, that blood

    in our veins,

    that spring and autumn,

    that people

    innocently,

    that things just are.

    That the children

    of others,

    that their...
About the Author-
  • David Grossman was born in Jerusalem, where he still lives. He is the bestselling author of numerous works of fiction, nonfiction, and children's literature, which have been translated into thirty-six languages. His work has also appeared in The New Yorker. He is the recipient of numerous awards, 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 2010 Frankfurt Peace Prize.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 27, 2014
    Although it’s identified as a novel, this searing narrative from Israeli writer Grossman is not cast in traditional form. A mixture of free-verse, prose, and stage directions, it’s a searching cri de coeur—an impassioned exploration of existential questions about life and death. In Grossman’s previous novel, To the End of the Land, a son is lost in battle; while Grossman was writing that book, his own son was killed in Israel’s 2006 war with Lebanon. Here, a bereaved father, who, after five years, still cannot come to terms with his son’s death, leaves his wife and home to try to find the “there,” where the boy’s soul resides. As he relentlessly walks through and around his village, the Walking Man is joined by others who have lost their children. His voice—intense, anguished, almost deranged by grief—is mediated by the Town Chronicler, who also introduces the voices of the other seekers—the net mender, the midwife, the duke, the cobbler, the math teacher, the centaur—who join the Walking Man. In hoping to be granted even a moment of communication with the dead, the Walking Man laments “the vast expanse his death/ created in me,” and his need to embrace “this/ lonely/ dead/ child.” This piercingly sad elegy culminates in a moment of peace in which the community of the bereaved contemplates the cycle of life and death. The precision and sensory depth of Grossman’s language renders this unconventional work an unforgettable and magnificent document of suffering.

  • Kirkus

    February 1, 2014
    A genre-crossing, pensive, peripatetic novel by Israeli author Grossman (To the End of the Land, 2010, etc.). Grossman's previous novel described a walk across the scorching Judean desert in quest of peace. The walking continues in this book, a blend of verse, drama and prose that recalls Karl Kraus' blistering Last Days of Mankind (1919) in both subject and form. Where Kraus described the self-immolation of Europe in World War I, Grossman ponders a world in which "[c]old flames lapped around us," a world caught up in formless, chaotic conflict about which we know only a few things--especially that people, young people, have died. The "Walking Man" goes in quest of the lost, but, leaving his home and village, he manages only to encircle it in an ever-widening ambit. Says "The Woman," "You /circle / around me / like a beast / of prey," but he is searching, not hunting, his circling an apparent effort at exhaustiveness. Others join him, the predator-prey metaphor working overtime: One woman likens her spirit to "a half-devoured beast / in its predator's mouth." In the end, Kraus gives way to a modernist verse reminiscent of Eliot: "We walk in gloom. / Across the way, on gnarled rock, / a spider spins a web, spreads out his taut, / clear net." The lesson learned from such observations? Perhaps this: Though death is final, the fact of death continues to reverberate among the living, awed and heartbroken. Rich, lyrical, philosophically dense--not an easy work to take in but one that repays every effort.

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    October 1, 2013
    Blending prose and drama and reading like a fable--the main character here is called Walking Man, and other characters include the Net Mender, the Midwife, and the Elderly Math Teacher--this new work from multi-award-winning Israeli novelist Grossman investigates grief, solace, and the finality of death. The novel opens with Walking Man informing his wife that he is departing to search for their dead son, then traveling in expanding circles around the town as others join him to reflect on their own losses. While Grossman's recent, triumphant "To the End of the Land" addresses such issues within a detailed and realistic frame, this brief novel works through Chagall-like luminosity.

    Copyright 2013 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • The New York Times Book Review "A strange and riveting book."
  • The Wall Street Journal "An almost unbearably personal work. . . . The monologues evoke both the raw declarations of Athenian tragedy and the homespun lamentations of Robert Frost's narrative poem."
  • The New York Review of Books "Spare and poetic."
  • Jewish Daily Forward "A richly emotional, mystical and philosophical tapestry . . . [Falling Out of Time] deserves recognition among the greatest works in the brave and indispensable tradition of art that pushes back against catastrophe."
  • The Independent (London) "Slim in dimension but as solid as sculpted rock. . . . Although it grows from a private, incomparable ordeal, this noble fable speaks for all."
  • Financial Times "Part narrative poem, part play, part novel . . . [a] poignant study of bereavement and loss."
  • The Daily Telegraph (London) "[Grossman is] the greatest Israeli writer of his generation. . . . Talmudic, polyphonic, yearning, [Falling Out of Time] comes from a place of pain and darkness and is acutely moving."
  • The Times Literary Supplement (London) "The language of its composition makes it particular to Israel, but once translated [Falling Out of Time] becomes universal."
  • The Toronto Star "Grossman is perhaps Israel's most important contemporary novelist. . . . [Falling Out of Time] resembles a play by Beckett or a Greek tragedy. . . . A haunting, affecting and even beautiful book."
  • The Times (London) "It's not a novel, but a mixture of poetry, prose and drama . . . as true and as powerful as CS Lewis's great A Grief Observed."
  • The Observer (London) "A book that needed to be written. . . . Poetic. . . . [A] triumph."
  • Sunday Times (London) "At once more universal and more personal than anything [Grossman] has written before."
  • The Guardian (London) "Falling Out of Time is short, and clearly a deeply personal book, but its importance and impact ought not to be underestimated."
  • Jewish Chronicle "A significant new departure in literature."
  • The Herald Scotland "Sensual and uncompromising. . . . Written with such simplicity it appears to be speaking directly to the reader, Falling Out Of Time is at times Biblical in its imagery, at others weird and fantastical. . . . It's a measure of Grossman's clarity of thought and his theatrical timing that one reaches its end and feels, in some small way, glad to have been in his characters' company however grim the road they travel."
  • Publishers Weekly (starred r "An impassioned exploration of existential questions about life and death. . . . The precision and sensory depth of Grossman's language renders this unconventional work an unforgettable and magnificent document of suffering."
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