The most important moments happen in kitchens, says David Grossman the Israeli novelist in London briefly this week explaining why he wanted a mother as the main protagonist of his new book. “I needed someone who would NOT collaborate with the machinery of government nor with warfare,” he said. “A man would not run away from the “notifiers” but a woman could and does.” Listening to him talk about his characters in The End of the Land at Friends’ House on Thursday night, and then later Henrietta Foster’s film on Newsnight - (well worth watching on iplayer)
- I could feel his own raw agony and how, as he said, war radiates into the bubble of family destroying whatever it finds there. So why a mother not a father? Grossman says the appeal of being a novelist is to become the character he’s creating. “I love the idea of being invaded by so many people who are different from me.” Tragically Ora was not so different from him. His own son, Uri, was killed in the Lebanon War in 2006. Mother or Father, war anywhere is the most brutalising form of existence contrary to every form of nurturing creativity that a mother and a father can make together. How long can anyone in Israel keep “walking between the raindrops” without getting splattered, Mother or Father? Grossman has not yet embraced despair but he is not exactly full of hope either.