Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Israeli author and activist David Grossman’s writings have been translated into 45 languages and garnered him myriad accolades, including the UK’s International Booker Prize. His 20-year-old son was killed by an anti-tank missile during the 2006 Lebanon War, two days after Grossman and his fellow writers had urged the government to agree to a cease-fire—and near the end of his composition of what many regard as his masterpiece, To the End of the Land, a novel about a woman running from her certainty that her son has died in combat. In this tender and insightful portrait of a captivating subject, Adi Arbel observes Grossman lecturing, conducting research, meeting with translators, and speaking eloquently on the nexus of art and existence, concluding that “the only way we can contemplate the emptiness of death, and at the same time feel the fullness of life, is by writing.”
The Last Chapter of A.B. Yehoshua
Writer A.B. Yehoshua, one of the key figures of the Israeli New Wave, has been called “the Israeli Faulkner” by The New York Times. Now 84 and widowed, he struggles with loneliness and health setbacks, yet his mind remains agile and his perspective clear. Filmmaker Yair Qedar, known for his involvement with the wide-ranging documentary cycle The Hebrews (exploring the Jewish and Hebrew literary canon), attentively follows Yehoshua with his camera as the illustrious author reflects on his mortality, his complicated heritage (having been born in Jerusalem to a Sephardic father and a Moroccan mother), and his belief that Jews and Arabs are both paralyzed by the past (his prescription: “a little dementia” all around). Sharp-witted and tart-tongued, Yehoshua stands as a source of inspiration, a living testament to wholehearted engagement with the world.