Be My Knife by David Grossman
A Novel

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The international bestseller: a compelling love story from the leading Israeli novelist of his generation

"We could be like two people who inject themselves with truth serum, and at long last have to tell it--the truth. I want to be able to say to myself, 'I bled truth with her,' yes, that's what I want. Be a knife for me, and I, I swear, will be a knife for you."

An awkward, neurotic seller of rare books writes a desperate letter to a beautiful stranger whom he sees at a class reunion. This simple, lonely attempt at seduction begins a love affair of words between Yair and Miriam, two married, middle-aged adults, dissatisfied with their lives, yearning for the connection that has always eluded them--and, eventually, reawakened to feelings that they thought had passed them by. Their correspondence unfolds into an exchange of their most naked confessions: of desire, childhood tragedies, joys, and humiliations.

Through the dialogue between Yair--a family man and surprisingly successful adulterer, whose complex, guarded letters reveal a life of secrets kept from the people closest to him--and Miriam, at first deceptively open and warm, who fills her life with distraction to avoid a past full of painful secrets, Be My Knife explores the nature and the limits of intimacy.

A deep departure from David Grossman's previous work, Be My Knife is his subtlest, most passionate novel yet.


About David Grossman

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David Grossman was born in Jerusalem on January 25, 1954, is an Israeli author of fiction, nonfiction, and youth and children's literature. His books have been translated into many languages. He is most known for his non-fiction work, The Yellow Wind. This is his study of the Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. He was awarded the Prime Minister's Prize for Hebrew literature (1984) and the Israeli Publishers Association Prize for best Hebrew novel (1985). Grossman lives in Mevasseret Zion on the outskirts of Jerusalem. He is married to Michal Grossman, a child psychologist and the mother of his three children.
Published April 19, 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 325 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Be My Knife

Kirkus Reviews

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By the time we get Miriam’s reactions to all this (recorded in her “notebook,” and also expressed in her final letter to him—the only one the reader ever sees), we’ve long since lost interest in either Yair’s connubial problems or Miriam’s struggles with her emotionally disturbed son and inhibiti...

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The Guardian

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(Yet now, at this moment, I feel once more that it is in just this kind of density I could truly start breathing.)" In a book with so very little in the way of conventional plot-driven narrative, it would do a disservice to the reader to say what happens in the last pages, when Yair and Miri...

Feb 16 2002 | Read Full Review of Be My Knife: A Novel

The Guardian

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[to allow] the vaguest most ancient picture of our two souls to float into our bodies.' He wants to get under Miriam's skin, to peel off not her clothes but her flesh, but most of all he needs her to know his own bare bones, to understand the 'skinny boy, slightly hunched over, a shy flatterer' ...

Feb 10 2002 | Read Full Review of Be My Knife: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Yair Einhorn is a neurasthenic Jerusalem bookseller, a married man and the father of a five-year-old son, who begins sending love letters to Miriam, a woman he briefly met at a party.

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Project MUSE

Be My Knife is a epistolary novel made up in large part of the letters of the protagonist, Yair Einhorn, a rare-book dealer fixated on the use of language, and the diary of Miriam, whom Yair spots at a social gathering.

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