Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Writing in the Dark by David Grossman

Writing in the Dark: Essays on Literature and Politics
5 out of 5: Writing in the Dark is a collection of essays on literature and politics by David Grossman, possibly one of the world's best living writers. This slim volume contains only 6 essays, but there's more insight and intelligence packed into these 131 pages than resides in most books. In perfectly crafted prose, Grossman speaks personally and passionately about his writing life: "I write, and the world does not close in on me. It does not grow smaller. It moves in the direction of what is open, future, possible. I imagine, and the act of imagination revives me."

Many of these essays touch on Grossman's love of reading and the effect of literature on his life. In one essay, he describes reading a good book: "I read the book over the course of one day and night in a total frenzy of the senses, and my feeling--which now slightly embarrasses me--will be familiar to anyone who has been in love: it was the knowledge that this other person or thing was meant only for me."

In addition to writing and reading, a couple of these essays touch on politics, particularly in relation to Israel, but this is not a political book in the usual sense. Grossman clarifies, "I am not planning to talk 'politics,' but rather to address the intimate, internal processes that occur among those who live in a disaster zone, and the role of literature and writing in a climate as lethal as the one we live in."

Without a doubt, this is the best collection of essays I've read in years. I'm perplexed as to why this book has not received the attention it so clearly deserves.

2 comments:

Anna van Gelderen said...

Thanks for the review. This sounds interesting.

rjnagle said...

Wow, I bought See Under Love years ago and never read it. Might take a second look.