Today in Tablet Magazine, senior writer Liel Leibovitz publishes a jeremiad accusing the Holy Trinity of Israeli left-wing novelists—David Grossman, Amos Oz, and A.B. Yehoshua—of being skilled artists whose delicate aesthetic standards correlate to more or less crippled political ones. Liel writes:

with few exceptions, the following generalization still stands: Oz and Yehoshua and Grossman tell stories of men and women who are wrecked by reality, who try to escape it but can’t, who do their best and discover that their best isn’t enough.

The same could be said about their political sensibilities. Grossman described it best. “It’s not that I think that suddenly Jews and Arabs can walk hand in hand towards the sunset,” he told me. “That’s not the case. But I think there’s a place somewhere in between the Hollywood ending and being tossed into the sea. There is nuance. And that’s where we need to go, to those places where we can have a life that is possible, where we could slowly douse the flames and control the madness, no more.”

But the madness, as artists should know better than most, is often all that there is. The madness starts wars and writes great novels and propels throngs of people to either love or hate their fellow man. And the madness is what we need writers for, because the madness is sublime and without it there is much that matters but not much that can move us.

In a somewhat complementary way, contributing editor Daphne Merkin urged readers to divorce Grossman’s latest novel, To the End of the Land, from his life-story.

Pen Pals
Earlier: The Tailor David Grossman