David Grossman has received several international awards for his writing, including the Premio Grinzane and the Premio Mondelo for The Zigzag Kid. He is the author of several novels, including Be My Knife, Someone to Run With, The Book of Intimate Grammar, children's books, and a play. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and children.
This new work from Grossman (Be My Knife) offers something new for the American reading public-a novel set in Israel that has nothing to do with the Palestinian dispute or the continuing impact of the Holocaust. That said, it is important to note that it's not a potential Disney production either. Its three main protagonists are 16-year-old Assaf, stuck in a boring summer job; Tamar, a lonely, albeit very talented, young singer who takes to the streets in search of her brother, Shai; and Dinka the dog, Tamar's companion and protector. Himself a talented musician, Shai is a heroin addict who has fallen under the power of Pesach, a Russian Mafia don who runs a pickpocketing operation using runaway street performers as bait. Tamar hopes that by performing on the streets herself she will be found by Pesach, brought into his operation, and led to her brother. The plan works, but escaping the Russian's clutches results in the loss of Dinka, who ends up in the pound where Assaf works. Told to locate the owner, Assaf finds himself trailing Dinka all over Jerusalem, encountering an assortment of rather eccentric characters, before finding Tamar and discovering feelings new to him. Appealing primarily to the serious young adult and the twentysomething audience, this belongs in most public libraries.-David W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, FL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Every once in a while, Grossman abandons his structurally intricate, morally complex novels of Israeli society, such as Be My Knife and See Under: Love, for lighter fare aimed at both adolescent and adult readers. But "lighter" is a relative term; like his previous adventure story The Zigzag Kid, this new novel drags its teenage protagonists through some heavy terrain. In this case, the milieu is the growing population of poor and drug-addicted runaways eking out a living on Jerusalem's streets. Assaf is an average Israeli teenage boy, shy and awkward, more comfortable with video games than with his schoolmates. His father arranges a do-nothing summer job for him with the City Sanitation Department, and he spends most of his time daydreaming about soccer until he is hitched up with a lost dog named Dinka and ordered to find its owner. Assaf learns, from the dog's retracing of its usual habits, that the owner's name is Tamar, a fellow teenager, but locating her quickly develops into something grander and more difficult-a knightly quest, on the order of a classic folk tale or hidden-door computer game, replete with guides (an elderly Greek nun, doped-up Russian immigrants), trolls (a vicious street gang), an evil king named Pesach and, of course, a princess to rescue. To Grossman's credit, Tamar is no typical lady-in-distress; she's on a quest of her own, to free her brother Shai from the clutches of the shady Pesach, a "manager" who exploits teenage street performers. To find him, she shaves her head and sings for spare change until she descends deep into the runaway world, perhaps too far to ever re-emerge. In Grossman's hands, this plot is both pleasingly familiar and made new through immersion in the details of Israeli life. Almog and Gurantz do a fine job translating the book's mix of teenage dialogue and lush description. (Jan.) Forecast: In Israel, this novel (and The Zigzag Kid) sold to adolescent as well as adult readers and was a bestseller. The Zigzag Kid fared less well in the U.S., and Someone to Run With may also have trouble finding the right audience here, since even Grossman's fans tend to prefer his more political writings. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"Someone to Run With reveals again that Grossman is one of contemporary literature's most versatile and absorbing writers....A deceptively simple story that is another revelation of Grossman's genius." --San Francisco Chronicle "Beautiful and arresting...Grossman has created a place of great dangers and improbable strokes of fortune, of compelling suspense and love's labors gained." --Los Angeles Times "Passionate and heartfelt...a story that is at once universal and specific, a classical fable of love brought to contemporary Israel." --Claire Messud, The New York Times Book Review