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Customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
7
Someone to Run with
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on 29 January 2007
David Grossman came to the attention of English-speaking readers when his novel 'See Under: Love' was published in the late 80s. I was a teenager at the time and it was one of those big, ambitious, monster novels you come across only a few times in your life; I'd compare it to Marquez or Pynchon, a dense, harrowing, weirdly magical experience. Grossman is a highly visible public intellectual in Israel, writing books about the Israel-Palestine conflict and urging on the Israeli government the necessity of negotiating with moderate Palestinians, which would make him seem wildly radical to a lot of western observers if it weren't for the fact that the Israeli government tends to be far to the right of the average Israeli citizen. His son was killed in 2006 while serving as a soldier in the Israel-Lebanon war, and Grossman made a memorable speech at the end of that year, castigating his government for its refusal to pursue a meaningful peace process and for destroying the lives of Israelis and Palestinians.

This is a state-of-Israel novel disguised as a kind of teenage adventure story, in which a boy trying to reunite a dog with its owner meets a girl trying to infiltrate a dodgy underworld syndicate of street performers. Grossman is alert to the corruption and demoralisation of Israeli society, but he can also tell a gripping yarn when he wants to, and this is a much zippier novel than 'See Under: Love'. It's hard to see how he made a story of desperate young people trying to find a way to live in a corrupt, violent, greedy milieu so enjoyable, but he did. I can't understand the comment from the reader who didn't like it, and I think that someone who clearly can't write has a nerve criticising an expert stylist like Grossman (even if what we're actually getting is Grossman translated into English).
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on 1 August 2003
What a beautiful book; Grossman's characters are so alive that they dance off the page. And I have never yet read a book- until now - in which the author manages to get into the mind of a dog and make her as vital as all the other key players ! Best of all, this book is based in the reality of modern Israel and still manages to be magical at the same time. Treat yourself: you'll love it.
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on 3 January 2006
I read this book on holiday and afterwards wondered whether I had accidentally bought a book written for a teen readership. Having just checked back on Amazon, I don't think that's the case. The book was badly written with unnecessary explanations of people's pasts when any intelligent reader could have inferred their histories from earlier hints. I felt this patronised the reader and leaves little mystery. Had the storyline been better, the poor style may have been less noticeable. While it is a nice teen love story, and I think I would have loved the book when I was 12 or 14, the story is predictable and, therefore, a little dull. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone over the age of 16.
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on 29 July 2011
This is a wonderful, sensitive, and special book. Written in a beautiful vivid language, this is a breathtaking narrative of young persons' discovery of love, the importance of family, their own courage and of life outside of the protected universe of middle class family and friends. Couldn't put it down after reading the first few pages, and wept from joy when I got to the last page. The narrative is set in present day Jerusalem, which perhaps adds an exotic dimension to the story and makes it even more interesting. This is a very unique and unusual incarnation of "coming of age" novel, highly recommended to young adults and grownups.
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on 27 May 2007
Hard to believe that this is the same author who wrote the puerile 'ZigZag Kid'. This was really good. I'll never look at a busker - in Israel or anywhere - the same way. Good depiction of addiction too, I thought, and for once I think the split narrative really worked.
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on 12 November 2015
It was ok. Too many characters to follow with names that made it difficult to follow as they all had nicknames. Also the 'slang' they used did not translate very easily. Easy read but hard for me to follow along with the above comments.
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on 31 October 2013
loved the book and the fast delivery, simple and easy as i wanted, with a quick dispached. no drama at all
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