The Book of Intimate Grammar

The Book of Intimate Grammar

by David Grossman, Betsi Rozenberg
     
 

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Aron Kelinfeld is the ringleader among the boys in his Jerusalem neighborhood, but as his 12-year-old friends begin to mature, Aaron remains imprisoned in the body of a child for three long years. 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…  See more details below

Overview

Aron Kelinfeld is the ringleader among the boys in his Jerusalem neighborhood, but as his 12-year-old friends begin to mature, Aaron remains imprisoned in the body of a child for three long years. 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Again displaying the special insights into adolescent psychology previously seen in See Under: Love , Israeli novelist Grossman has fashioned a powerful, emotionally devastating novel that chronicles a young boy's fears, anguish and breakdown. Aron Kleinfeld is 11 and a half when we meet him and his crass, ill-bred parents in a seedy Jerusalem housing project. Sensitive and imaginative, he is a great dreamer and ringleader of escapades among his circle of friends, though they are beginning to scorn his childish fantasies. Other signs of stress soon appear: his parents' anxious references to Aron's slow growth and his own awareness of his short stature and scrawny physique, coupled with his observation of the signs of puberty in his pals, make Aron acutely self-conscious and arouse feelings of humiliation and self-hatred. Aron, reluctant to mature socially, psychologically and physically, becomes so revolted by the adult world of hairy armpits and sex and complex, mediated feelings that he eventually feels that ``having a body is itself a defect.'' Yet the reader's sympathy for this naive, gauche nebbish grows in proportion to Aron's suffering, as Grossman brilliantly creates Aron's agonized stream of consciousness. Painfully lonely, feeling rejected by family and friends, to Aron ``. . . words had come to be utterly inward, whispering a grammar so intimate and tortuous they could never break forth into the light.'' Grossman's portrait of Aron will stand as a classic study of adolescent turmoil set against the muted backdrop of his country's imminent, violent and compromised coming of age in the Six-Day War of 1967. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Grossman, one of Israel's premier young novelists (e.g., The Smile of the Lamb, LJ 1/91), presents an Israeli rite de passage worthy of comparison with Salinger and Golding. Twelve-year-old Ahron, the ring-leader of the boys in his Jerusalem neighborhood, counts the minutes in class in anticipation of the games and adventures to be played after school. But when his buddies start leaving their childhood pranks behind, Ahron is devastated. He tells his friend Gideon that he will go it alone: "he would never stop, he would break into strange houses, and escape out of boxes and trunks and cars, he would stay as he was himself forever." With sublime skill, Grossman conveys the enormous pain involved in the loss of the world of childhood. As the Six-Day War approaches, Ahron imitates his hero Houdini in an attempt to escape adulthood and like Peter Pan vows never to grow up. Highly recommended for all fiction collections.-Molly Abramowitz, Silver Spring, Md.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781573225151
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
11/01/1995
Pages:
464
Product dimensions:
5.18(w) x 8.04(h) x 1.01(d)

Meet the Author

David Grossman is the author of two books of journalism, several children's books, a play, and six novels, including Be My Knife. He lives in Jerusalem.

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