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January 25: David Grossman

January 25, 2015

34031Israeli novelist David Grossman, whose works have been translated into more than thirty languages, was born in Jerusalem on this date in 1954. At age 9, he won a national competition about the writings of Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem, to whom his father, who worked as a bus driver and librarian, had introduced him. The publicity established David as a child actor on the Israel Broadcasting radio station, for which he worked for nearly 25 years. Grossman is the author of ten works of fiction, but is perhaps best known for his bestselling non-fiction book, The Yellow Wind (1987), a report on his nine weeks of meetings with West Bank Palestinians, in which he sought to “direct my gaze at the invisible Arabs, [and] face this forgotten reality.” The book marked his emergence as a peace activist, an international literary figure, and a vigorous Zionist supporter of the two-state solution. In 2006, Grossman’s 20-year-old son was killed in the final hours of the war with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Two months later, Grossman spoke to 100,000 Israelis at a memorial gathering for Yitzhak Rabin, and described his pain as “greater than my anger. I am in pain for this country...”

“My destiny doomed me to be in this desert land. I will map it.” —David Grossman