The Book of Intimate Grammar A Novel

David Grossman; Translated by Betsy Rosenberg




Trade Paperback

352 Pages



Request Desk Copy Request Exam Copy

Aron Kleinfeld is the ringleader among the boys in his Jerusalem neighborhood but as his twelve-year-old friends begin to mature Aaron remains imprisoned for three long years in the body of a child. While Israel inches toward the Six-Day War, and his friends cross the boundary between childhood and adolescence, Aron remains in his child's body spying on the changes that adulthood wreaks as, like his hero Houdini, he struggles to escape the trap of growing up.


Praise for The Book of Intimate Grammar

"Like [Virginia] Woolf, Grossman is uncanny at reproducing an experience from the inside out...the writing reminds you of the great, solemn mystery of literature, what the poet Czeslaw Milosz calls 'the human possibility of being someone else.'"—The Chicago Tribune

"Mr. Grossman's balance between the poetic and the profane is perfect . . . [The Book of Intimate Grammar] is See Under: Love's stylistic twin: the beauty and intelligence of the writing are dazzling . . . It can be read at once, as a tale of magic realism, a parable about the damage left in the wake of the Holocaust, a psychological portrait of a child's descent into madness, and, finally, as a comical but searing indictment of the Jewish family . . . The beauty and intelligence of the writing are dazzling."—The New York Times Book Review

"When the Israeli writer David Grossman's See Under: Love was published . . . he was compared legitimately to Kafka, Grass, Márquez, and Joyce . . . David Grossman's own intimate grammar will speak to anyone who was ever twelve."—The Boston Globe

"In The Book of Intimate Grammar, Grossman continues an exploration begun in his extraordinary 1989 novel See Under: Love into the often troubled and traumatic inner life of children. With his new book, Grossman confirms his stature as a world-class novelist."—Susan Miron, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Skillful . . . poignant and engaging."—Geoffrey Wheatcroft, Los Angeles Times

"This outstanding Israeli writer delivers an intensely realized, consummate portrayal of a youth reluctantly coming of age amid the charged climate enveloping close friends and family just before the Six-Day War. As both Gideon, whose friendship Aron Kleinfeld most cherishes, and Yaeli, the first girl he has ever cared for, become involved in the Zionist youth movement, Aron agonizes over finding himself outside the fray. And by refusing to accept the many disruptive changes bombarding him, this gentle, hesitant boy falls deeper and deeper into a no-win predicament of his own making. Grossman's densely cadenced prose fairly bristles with the profound energy of Aron's adolescent conundrum in this impressive and compelling story."—Alice Joyce, Booklist

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

The Book of Intimate Grammar

Aron is standing on tiptoe for a better view of the street below, where Mama and Papa have just stepped out to breathe some fresh air at the end of a long hot day. They look so small from here....

Read the full excerpt