Be My Knife

A Novel

David Grossman; Translated from the Hebrew Vered Almog and Maya Gurantz

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Download Image David Grossman; Translated from the Hebrew Vered Almog and Maya Gurantz Be My Knife

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The international bestseller: a compelling love story from the leading Israeli novelist of his generation

"We could be like two people who inject themselves with truth serum, and at long last have to tell it--the truth. I want to be able to say to myself, 'I bled truth with her,' yes, that's what I want. Be a knife for me, and I, I swear, will be a knife for you."

An awkward, neurotic seller of rare books writes a desperate letter to a beautiful stranger whom he sees at a class reunion. This simple, lonely attempt at seduction begins a love affair of words between Yair and Miriam, two married, middle-aged adults, dissatisfied with their lives, yearning for the connection that has always eluded them--and, eventually, reawakened to feelings that they thought had passed them by. Their correspondence unfolds into an exchange of their most naked confessions: of desire, childhood tragedies, joys, and humiliations.

Through the dialogue between Yair--a family man and surprisingly successful adulterer, whose complex, guarded letters reveal a life of secrets kept from the people closest to him--and Miriam, at first deceptively open and warm, who fills her life with distraction to avoid a past full of painful secrets, Be My Knife explores the nature and the limits of intimacy.

A deep departure from David Grossman's previous work, Be My Knife is his subtlest, most passionate novel yet.

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David Grossman

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Book Excerpts

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Be My Knife
YairApril 3Miriam,You don't know me. When I write to you I don't know myself very well, either. I tried not to write, I did, I've tried for two days, but now I've broken down.I saw you at the class reunion a few days ago, but you didn't see me--I was standing over to the side. Maybe I was standing in your blind spot. Someone said your name, a few boys called you teacher, and you were standing with a tall man who must have been your husband. That's it, that's all I know about you--and even that's a little too much for me. Don't worry, I don't want to meet you in person or interfere

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Reviews

Praise for Be My Knife

"Another original premise from Israeli novelist/journalist Grossman: after a shy, middle-aged man notices a beautiful stranger at a reunion, they launch a passionate affair of words."—Library Journal

"Be My Knife, by the highly acclaimed Israeli novelist David Grossman, explores the perennial dilemma of unrequited love. Grossman, however, is far too original a novelist not to give his story a twist. The book opens with a letter written by Yair Einhorn, a neurotic, compulsive rare-books dealer, to Miriam, a beautiful, mysterious woman he glimpses 'at the class reunion a few days ago—but you didn't see me.' Her offhand gesture and brief, enigmatic smile prompts him to send her a passionate letter, what he calls a 'restrained suicide note.' To his joy and amazement, she writes back to him. So begins an extraordinary love affair by letter, recounted for the first 200 pages by Yair's impulsive, impassioned, and angst-ridden letters to Miriam. When Miriam finally finds her own voice toward the end of the book, Yair has raised the reader's expectations so high that ultimately her character is rather disappointing. Be My Knife is a novelist's novel about obsession, compulsion, and desire. The writing is dense, demanding, and full of moments of great poetry and inventiveness, but it can become difficult and obscure. Stylistically Grossman is experimenting with plot and character in the grand modernist tradition, and Yair is reminiscent of the tormented "little men" in the works of Joyce and Beckett. However, at times Grossman's brilliant artfulness overwhelms a potentially fascinating story."—Jerry Brotton, Amazon.com-editorial reviews

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About the Author

David Grossman; Translated from the Hebrew Vered Almog and Maya Gurantz

David Grossman is the author of five novels as well as two groundbreaking worls of journalism, The Yellow Wind (1987) and Sleeping on a Wire (1993), several children's books, and a play. He lives in Jerusalem.

David Grossman

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Available Formats and Book Details

Be My Knife
A Novel
David Grossman; Translated from the Hebrew Vered Almog and Maya Gurantz

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
April 2003
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466803718
ISBN10: 1466803711
320 pages
$9.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
April 2003
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312421472
ISBN10: 0312421478
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 320 pages
$16.00
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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