To the End of the Land - By David Grossman



Other Books by This Author

Title Page



Prologue, 1967

The Walk, 2000

A Note About the Author

A Note About the Translator

Prologue, 1967

HEY, GIRL, quiet!

Who is that?

Be quiet! You woke everyone up!

But I was holding her


On the rock, we were sitting together

What rock are you talking about? Let us sleep

Then she just fell

All this shouting and singing

But I was asleep

And you were shouting!

She just let go of my hand and fell

Stop it, go to sleep

Turn on a light

Are you crazy? They’ll kill us if we do that



I was singing?

Singing, shouting, everything. Now be quiet

What was I singing?

What were you singing?!

In my sleep, what was I singing?

I’m supposed to know what you were singing? A bunch of shouts. That’s what you were singing. What was I singing, she wants to know …

You don’t remember the song?

Look, are you nuts? I’m barely alive

But who are you?

Room Three

You’re in isolation, too?

Gotta get back

Don’t go … Did you leave? Wait, hello … Gone … But what was I singing?

AND the next night he woke her up again, angry at her again for singing at the top of her lungs and waking up the whole hospital, and she begged him to try to remember if it was the same song from the night before. She was desperate to know, because of her dream, which kept getting dreamed almost every night during those years. An utterly white dream. Everything in it was white, the streets and the houses and the trees and the cats and dogs and the rock at the edge of the cliff. And Ada, her redheaded friend, was also entirely white, without a drop of blood in her face or body. Without a drop of color in her hair. But he couldn’t remember which song it was this time, either. His whole body was shuddering, and she shuddered back at him from her bed. We’re like a pair of castanets, he said, and to her surprise, she burst out with bright laughter that tickled him inside. He had used up all his strength on the journey from his room to hers, thirty-five steps, resting after each one, holding on to walls, doorframes, empty food carts. Now he flopped onto the sticky linoleum floor in her doorway. For several minutes they both breathed heavily. He wanted to make her laugh again but he could no longer speak, and then he must have fallen asleep, until her voice woke him. Tell me something

What? Who is it?

It’s me

You …

Tell me, am I alone in this room?

How should I know?

Are you, like, shivering?

Yeah, shivering

How high is yours?

It was forty this evening

Mine was forty point three. When do you die?

At forty-two

That’s close

No, no, you still have time

Don’t go, I’m scared

Do you hear?


How quiet it is suddenly?

Were there booms before?


I keep sleeping, and all of a sudden it’s nighttime again

’Cause there’s a blackout

I think they’re winning


The Arabs

No way

They’ve occupied Tel Aviv

What are you … who told you that?

I don’t know. Maybe I heard it

You dreamed it

No, they said it here, someone, before, I heard voices

It’s from the fever. Nightmares. I have them, too

My dream … I was with my friend

Maybe you know


Which direction I came from

I don’t know anything here

How long for you?

Don’t know

Me, four days. Maybe a week

Wait, where’s the nurse?

At night she’s in Internal A. She’s an Arab

How do you know?

You can hear it when she talks

You’re shaking

My mouth, my whole face

But … where is everybody?

They’re not taking us to the bomb shelter


So we don’t infect them

Wait, so it’s just us—

And the nurse

I thought


If you could sing it for me

That again?

Just hum

I’m leaving

If it was the other way around, I would sing to you

Gotta get back


Where, where, to lie with my forefathers, to bring me down with sorrow to the grave, that’s where

What? What was that? Wait, do I know you? Hey, come back

AND the next night, too, before midnight, he came to stand in her doorway and scolded her again and complained that she was singing in her sleep, waking him and the whole world, and she smiled to herself and asked if his room was really that far, and that was when he realized, from her voice, that she wasn’t where she had been the night before and the night before that.

Because now I’m sitting, she explained. He asked cautiously, But why are you sitting? Because I couldn’t sleep, she said. And I wasn’t singing. I was sitting here quietly waiting for you.

They both thought it was getting even darker. A new wave of heat, which may have had nothing to