Great Reads: September 2010

What to read this month.

by Ellen Emry Heltzel
Photograph: Photo: Peter Ardito

To the End of the Land by David Grossman (Knopf)
This powerful novel about the fight for Israel’s borders takes on biblical proportions as it unfolds through the eyes of Ora, a Jewish mother whose son volunteers for a military campaign. Convinced he won’t survive, she retreats from reality and hikes into the Galilee. The journey gives Ora the chance to reflect on “the thousands of moments and acts from which you raise a child” and her estrangement from the ethos of war. The author’s son died while serving in the Israel Defense Forces—a tragedy that hardly begins to explain Grossman’s deep sensitivity to the chaotic devotion of a mother’s love.

My Lie by Meredith Maran (Jossey-Bass)
In the 1980s, sexual abuse exploded into public consciousness, spurring a witch hunt fueled by recovered childhood memories. Caught up in the frenzy, Maran, a More contributor, became convinced that her father had molested her. Eight years later she recanted; now she’s written an emotional memoir about the personal turmoil and media storm that provoked her accusation. This telling book chronicles a time in which the nation looked at domestic life through “incest-colored glasses.”

The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard (William Morrow)
Ruth is the offspring of rock-ribbed farmers in New Hampshire. Dana’s mother and father are artsy tree huggers from out of town. The two girls, born on the same day in the same hospital, grow up to be natural enemies,
yet their parents share a startling secret that will turn their daughters’ lives upside down. In this absorbing novel, More contributor Maynard (whose memoir about adopting two Ethiopian sisters appears in the September issue) slowly unravels a mystery of misplaced identity.

Originally published in the September 2010 issue of More.

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