HER BODY KNOWS

David Grossman, Author
David Grossman, Author , trans. from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen. Farrar, Straus & Giroux $23 (272p) ISBN 978-0-374-17557-3
Reviewed on: 04/11/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
Paperback - 264 pages - 978-0-312-42505-0
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Love has many guises in these two novellas—but it never looks like something you'd aspire to. Israeli writer Grossman is more interested in its perverse forms—jealousy, egocentrism, obsession, voyeurism—but also the ways in which we invent the people we love through fantasy. In "Frenzy," Shaul, a respectable academic, feverishly stalks his wife, Elisheva, convinced she has been having an affair with another man for 10 years. He asks his sister-in-law, Esti, to drive him across the country in the middle of the night in search of Elisheva, and as he describes a decade of watching and waiting and imagining every last detail of Elisheva's betrayal, Esti finds herself getting pulled into Shaul's obsession. In "In Another Life," a writer named Rotem visits her estranged mother, Nili, now dying from cancer. Rotem shares her latest story, a fictional exploration of an episode from her childhood in which her mother is the central character. As Rotem reads aloud, Grossman switches back and forth from Rotem's story to the present moment. The reader sees Nili, and then sees her as Rotem imagines her, while the narrative hovers somewhere between memory and fiction. Grossman (See Under: Love , etc.) can capture surprising psychological depth in a single sentence, and here he opens up whole lives on every page. Agent, Deborah Harris . (May)

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