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Be My Knife

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When the awkward, neurotic and childlike Yair, a seller of rare books, sees a beautiful woman across the room at a class reunion he feels compelled to write to her. So begins a love affair of words between two married, middle-aged adults, dissatisfied with their lives, yearning for the connection that has always eluded them. Be a knife for me, Yair writes to Miriam, and I, When the awkward, neurotic and childlike Yair, a seller of rare books, sees a beautiful woman across the room at a class reunion he feels compelled to write to her. So begins a love affair of words between two married, middle-aged adults, dissatisfied with their lives, yearning for the connection that has always eluded them. “Be a knife for me,” Yair writes to Miriam, “and I, I swear, will be a knife for you.” As they peel back their inhibitions, their correspondence unfolds into an exchange of their most naked confessions in a novel that is as passionate as it is spellbinding.


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When the awkward, neurotic and childlike Yair, a seller of rare books, sees a beautiful woman across the room at a class reunion he feels compelled to write to her. So begins a love affair of words between two married, middle-aged adults, dissatisfied with their lives, yearning for the connection that has always eluded them. Be a knife for me, Yair writes to Miriam, and I, When the awkward, neurotic and childlike Yair, a seller of rare books, sees a beautiful woman across the room at a class reunion he feels compelled to write to her. So begins a love affair of words between two married, middle-aged adults, dissatisfied with their lives, yearning for the connection that has always eluded them. “Be a knife for me,” Yair writes to Miriam, “and I, I swear, will be a knife for you.” As they peel back their inhibitions, their correspondence unfolds into an exchange of their most naked confessions in a novel that is as passionate as it is spellbinding.

30 review for Be My Knife

  1. 5 out of 5

    Smyth

    I went to bed angry because of this book. It begins with a love letter from a neurotic rare book seller (and i'm thinking, oh snap...i like rare books. i can get behind neuroses!) to a woman he saw a few days before at a class reunion. This sort of premise is right up my alley, a love affair demonstrated through a series of letters. Like Griffin and Sabine without all of the rad mail art. Anyway, about 20 pages I got pissed off. He describes his own first letter as a "restrained suicide note." I went to bed angry because of this book. It begins with a love letter from a neurotic rare book seller (and i'm thinking, oh snap...i like rare books. i can get behind neuroses!) to a woman he saw a few days before at a class reunion. This sort of premise is right up my alley, a love affair demonstrated through a series of letters. Like Griffin and Sabine without all of the rad mail art. Anyway, about 20 pages I got pissed off. He describes his own first letter as a "restrained suicide note." I've dated men like Yair, obsessive manipulative wastes of space. It's all in the language he uses..."There's no point to this if I have to explain it, so you don't have to bother responding, because then I was wrong about you, clearly." Yeah Miriam...you've just started reading this letter, no worries if you're not into returning his over-the-top love, but if you don't you've been a supreme disappointment. Way to go, lady. Yes, the language is beautiful. But I simply cannot stomach this kind of dysfunctional relationship nonsense. Maybe I simply didn't get "it" and, no, I didn't actually finish the damned thing. I wasn't willing to stick around and get Stockholm Syndromed into Yael's crap. I think all this anger will wear off once I actually get the book of my nightstand and return it to the library. And then I'll be back to my 4-5 star reading schedule, I feel sure of it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Zaki

    "The passion of my yearning for someone, a man above all, who would not only dare to strip me of my clothes, but would look at what is there within me, so we could see, together, what I am made of" Emotions, feelings, longings, doubt, fears, anger, emptiness, search for true love. If these are the things you're looking for, it's gonna be your best read. These feelings are too strong at some places. It demands all of your attention. You might get frustrated but it's one of the interesting about "The passion of my yearning for someone, a man above all, who would not only dare to strip me of my clothes, but would look at what is there within me, so we could see, together, what I am made of" Emotions, feelings, longings, doubt, fears, anger, emptiness, search for true love. If these are the things you're looking for, it's gonna be your best read. These feelings are too strong at some places. It demands all of your attention. You might get frustrated but it's one of the interesting about this book. Nothing is hidden. In short, you can find every emotion in it. Yair see Miriam at a party and he starts writing letters to her. They don't meet each other during their correspondence, although they were living at the distance of a few miles. First part contains all the letters of Yair in which he shows all the aspects of his soul, no matter how dark they are. In the second part, Miriam in her letters shows how her life is just empty. How she is living a meaningless life, regardless of having a family and a job. The story is about extraordinary and unexpected ways of finding true love. You might find true love at any stage of your life. When you find that love nothing remains hidden. Your love gets familiar with all the dark aspects of your personality. She becomes you and you become her. Many questions remain unanswered but it's on the imagination of the reader. In reality, the whole story is only in your imagination. In ''reality" you can't be this naked. Your souls can't touch each other if you bound yourself to reality, only. I feel I couldn't imagine sufficiently many things during my first reading. Therefore, this book demands to be read again. "I want to have ten different affairs with you! Why not? Each one of them speaking--no, shouting out, for a completely different man in me. Men unfamiliar to me. This is why people try to connect with one another, isn't it?"

  3. 4 out of 5

    Silvana Rail

    One of those books that look into your soul, analyze the most profound implications of Love and shows how Love makes the Extraordinary and the Unconventional enter you life.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Benji

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Now, with the last tears having dried -- being able to think objectively about it -- what do I think about this book? Everyone will agree, it's extremely disturbing. But in what way? At the beginning, the usual things came to disturb me. Is this guy a total psycho, what is he capable of doing, how forceful and crazed and passionate. Etc. The strange thing is that it's hypnotizing and its like you get judo thrown halfway through the book: the disturbing part wasn't any more anything related to Now, with the last tears having dried -- being able to think objectively about it -- what do I think about this book? Everyone will agree, it's extremely disturbing. But in what way? At the beginning, the usual things came to disturb me. Is this guy a total psycho, what is he capable of doing, how forceful and crazed and passionate. Etc. The strange thing is that it's hypnotizing and its like you get judo thrown halfway through the book: the disturbing part wasn't any more anything related to them, instead it was a lot more seeing my own bashfulness, timidity (or to say it more truthfully, my cowardice and the submerged existence I lead). I especially was drawn to this book, as a frequent and amorous letter writer // letters, not emails // and then I was further disturbed sitting down to write and then I'd have the voices of Yair and Miriam in my head, criticizing me for the large amount of things that I left out of my letters. I liked how the structure changes -- it shifts abruptly enough that you have to reevaluate the structure of what you read previously. There's a reason you only read half of the letters, its because they are collected by Miriam in a journal, that becomes her diary, which at first are entries to Yair then become writing just because its therapeautic for her. Even the stream-of-conscious part is presented in an organic way, further highlighting the vast difference between what their brains process and what before was edited into distinguishable phrase. Showing the ideal that even with their uninhibited prose they were never able to attain. Sort of like, they fall in love and the very last sentence is when they meet. There's a lot more to it, but it loses something when you describe it. Of all the critics reviews covering the book, I like this one the best : ''A brilliant concoction for people with strong stomachs and good taste.'' I wish there was a site like Rotten Tomatoes but for books, collecting the critics reviews for new literature.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Francesco Beroldo

    It took me a while to get swept into it... It left a good impression but I initially I very much 'resisted' the narrative, it took me a while to accept it. Yair's words sounded to me like the words of a maniac; it is a one way monologue for most of the book; well, all the story is really two monologues. You need patience to read and understand, and a certain level of emotional maturity is in my case maybe is not so high. The two characters don't know each other, they end up developing a deep It took me a while to get swept into it... It left a good impression but I initially I very much 'resisted' the narrative, it took me a while to accept it. Yair's words sounded to me like the words of a maniac; it is a one way monologue for most of the book; well, all the story is really two monologues. You need patience to read and understand, and a certain level of emotional maturity is in my case maybe is not so high. The two characters don't know each other, they end up developing a deep connection that in the end reveals their own flaws and strengths, one soul budding in love, and not only for the other person, the other one is stuck in its weakness and obsessive nature. It's an intimate account of the depth of two lives, a fiction that reveals more than we can expect.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Odd book. The premise of an open letter pouring ones most inner and intimate thoughts to a near strange is intriguing. The fact that the beginning was all narrated by the male character was frustrating. I wanted to hear the real exchange - what was happening. I got through about 1/2 the book and couldn't slog through it any more. Tried to skip ahead to the other female narrator but it didn't work. A brilliant book - I just couldn't get involved in the story.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Carey

    I so loved See Under: Love, and reviews of Grossman's new book have been so good, I thought I'd give this a try while waiting for the new one to come out in paperback, but it just didn't do it for me. The last section was compelling, but oh boy did the first section try my patience.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Paola

    I just love this book, it talks to the deepest shadows of the reader.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chiaruccia

    A 300+ pages summary: a pshyco sees a woman, does some mental mansturbation about it and starts writing her letters. Dysfunctional relationship nonsense.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Did not finish. This book annoys me to no end.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Isabelle

    As if somebody lived in my own soul for a while, looked around and wrote everything down. Thank you Mr. Grossman for writing a perfect mirror.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Magdelanye

    It's not simple to concentrate on such an image; try it, it requires the operation of extremely strong soul muscles along the spine of the soul, because the soul arches in terrible resistance against it, and great strength is needed to force its surrender. p60 But don't forget that "reality" itself is, when it comes right down to it, only a momentary coincidence on the surface of a huge sphere crackling with possibilities that will never be realized. p55 Audacious, preposterous, brilliant and It's not simple to concentrate on such an image; try it, it requires the operation of extremely strong soul muscles along the spine of the soul, because the soul arches in terrible resistance against it, and great strength is needed to force its surrender. p60 But don't forget that "reality" itself is, when it comes right down to it, only a momentary coincidence on the surface of a huge sphere crackling with possibilities that will never be realized. p55 Audacious, preposterous, brilliant and compelling, DG's knife cuts away all shreds of convention in this mesmerizing, disturbing, verging on claustrophobic documentary fiction. I use all of my powers to keep myself balanced. p53 At this stage of my life, I don't need a doctor as much as I need someone with the same sort of wound. p210

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ada Cerma

    I came across this book when a dear person sent me the first pages. The first impression was what the hell! Probably the guy is some freak that imagines his exchange of letters with this girl. But I cant say that I wasnt tempted and the reason was that I knew it would be a journey of self-revelation. When I decided to read the book, I struggled so much to find it, cause unfortunately isnt translated in Albanian and after surfing the net and after my friend travelling abroad didnt find it, I was I came across this book when a dear person sent me the first pages. The first impression was “what the hell!” Probably the guy is some freak that imagines his exchange of letters with this girl. But I can’t say that I wasn’t tempted and the reason was that I knew it would be a journey of self-revelation. When I decided to read the book, I struggled so much to find it, cause unfortunately isn’t translated in Albanian and after surfing the net and after my friend travelling abroad didn’t find it, I was about to give up but yet the same person that sent me the first pages, gave me a link where to find it and then to print it. And the beauty of it was that two days after my other friend travelling in Rome asks me for the book title to buy it for me. Though I had just a printed version, I was happy to hold it in my hands. I have to be honest that my feeling towards this book was somehow encouraged by what this person represented to me. I knew that somehow he was there, I was there. I knew somehow this book was something about us. It was my way to “feel” us though this pronoun couldn’t be used anymore. It was a kind of continuity. So I was thrilled to enter this journey. I decided to read the Italian translation of the book. It was the sensation that this language contains that delicacy I expected in this journey within self. So I started the book in Italian though English could be more comfortable. The first pages were a bit tiring. Not only the language but the style of writing. The main character is not the easiest guy, he is full of doubts, self-guilt, anxious, angry somehow more of a child. His character reveals itself each page passing, getting to know his past issues that still torment his identity. Yair arrives to the reader as an egocentric person, hiding his true self to others, living more in a world of his own, unable to create a bonding in which he can be true. Myriam attracts his attention and he chooses her to reveal his true self, knowing that they were kind of the same, always stepping aside in themselves when unable to fit. But yet her figure is magnified in his eyes. He finds himself incomparable to her, to her charm, to her maturity and sense of self. Almost in every letter you can see him acting selfishly and impulsively and asking for forgiveness and at the same. And yet he is finally true to himself, knowing that this version he is unfolding, isn’t that graceful. But that is the point of “Be my Knife”: Go to the darkest corners of my soul,see me naked. I know it’s hurtful for both of us but if we dare go through this journey and still want each other, that means our souls are finally one. The beauty of Yair’s narration is that he is focused on feelings instead of stories. Telling about his experiences is in the function of revealing parts of himself that he has difficulties to admit. The same is in Myriam’s letters. Telling about her difficulties in raising up her son, comes with the tiny details of their routine. But every detail makes you feel her suffering. We get to know about Myriam from Yair’s letters. I personally thought we wouldn’t read her replies. We get to know her character step by step, yet she comes a bit rigid, full of barriers. Many questions on her unanswered and many doubts on what is actually going on with her life. The mysteries reveal each page passing: her relation with her mother, the death of her best friend and her marriage with Amos, her struggle to have a child and the upbringing of her ill son( Ana’s son). So we can see that similarly to Yair, she isn’t that strong and rigid, but a lonely woman with an emptiness she can’t fill and daren’t talk about. When Yair decides not to write her anymore, Myriam’s letters come with what we didn’t expect from her till that moment: her need of him and her feelings for him. It’s a side of Myriam that we didn’t know existed. Just like him she suffers in the absence of his letters, not with guilt but extreme loneliness. He has become an irreplaceable part of her life. The fact they have seen each other’s souls naked, makes it difficult to live the same as before. Their letters are far different from the usual information people get to exchange in their first days of their introduction. Yair and Myriam spend a few months in what for other people would take a lifetime or maybe would never happen. That is the beauty of their story, a fantasy land where their emotions count, detached from the everyday life, detached from the transformation we have in order to perform our daily routines and to be truthful to the social conventions and our roles in family or society. The phrase “crying with the tears of another” is a perfect figure of speech of what they intended to have together. The question that rises is: What could become of their special intimacy when fantasy could be converted in reality? Would everyday life destroy the enchantment of their own fairytale revelation? The ending doesn’t offer answers. Though after that intense phone conversation between the two, some things become clear: They both avoid talking about “them”and both have doubts in how to manage this situation. Yair reflects his insecurities in his behavior towards his son,leaving him in the cold and rain just to get an apology. In fact what he left outside is a part of himself, the difficult child in him he has difficulty to cope with. He needs her to cope with his anger, his insecurities masked authority. This is the reason he want’s her to call back though he is the one to hang up. On the other side, Myriam knows about her pregnancy and feels mostly the need of him in her life. Also knowing he left his son freeze outside, she wants to “save” him from his father’s anger(in fact saving Yair from himself). And the most expected moment comes. They see each-other in the rain, in a scene as weird as their own story, when her attention is on their similar hands. The first things she does is noticing their long and beautiful fingers. ( a detail I am yet doubtful on the significance) This ending is far from being clear. I think that what she actually saw were the two “Yairs”, the adult one and the child (he was reflecting in his anger with the son). She was there to save him from himself. They both needed to be saved. The rain would end the drought for the city and for their own lives so it was a perfect set for their reunion. So this is my explanation on the ending. To conclude, this book is different from anything I and probably you have read before.It’s the journey in the inner world of two people and in the end in the mere sense of what life and love should be: a collision of two souls in one. Your story is my story. Your pain is my pain. Your world is my world. If you are able to create that kind of intimacy, to take off the clothes of your soul in front of another soul and make love together, does any other thing in the world have more meaning than that?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kim Westheimer

    I think David Grossman is brilliant; his book See Under: Love would be on my top 10 list of favorite books. That said, I couldn't finish Be My Knife. It felt like he could use a few years of therapy to address his issues with women.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    I think I have dog-eared more pages in David Grossman's books than in any other author's books. His aren't always the easiest or most accessible, but he is after something deeper; you just have to be willing to go along for the ride, and struggle along with the characters.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jek

    Intimately weird reading experience.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stefanija

    I just couldn't get into it. It's a bit too boring and weird... bad type of weird.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Patrícia

    One of the most beautiful books I have read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jose-Luis La Torre-Cuadros

    Amazing book, full of passion and energy, unexpected conclusion with very passionate characters.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marc Nash

    A 30 something father is discontented with his life and reignites when he spots a female childhood friend at a book fair. He begins writing to her and this is indeed that quaint thing a book of letters, rendered a bit of a curio these days with email, instant messaging and the like. So first we have 200 pages of his overwrought angst since he doesn't actually meet her in the flesh throughout the vast majority of this. She does reply but since we don't see her responses he is basically writing A 30 something father is discontented with his life and reignites when he spots a female childhood friend at a book fair. He begins writing to her and this is indeed that quaint thing a book of letters, rendered a bit of a curio these days with email, instant messaging and the like. So first we have 200 pages of his overwrought angst since he doesn't actually meet her in the flesh throughout the vast majority of this. She does reply but since we don't see her responses he is basically writing into a vacuum as far as the reader is concerned. There is no limit on his emotions through being bounded by a second person, it's largely him talking to himself. And he is not a very likable person accordingly, seeming somewhat self-obsessed and indulgent. The book moves on when they finally do meet and although it is largely a sex scene, it's done in a very affecting way that utterly reveals both characters through it. Then we have the woman's responses, also in a monologue form of a journal. There are several ways for the author to have attacked this. Does the timeline of her journal match that of his letters? No, it occurs after their meeting up in a motel. Is her language at a similar fevered pitch to his, in which case both characters risk being throughly unsympathetic? No, she is quieter, more reflective, less extreme. But then I ask myself what she sees in him? even if he represents her breaking out of her routinised life, he is clearly not suitable for such a sensibility as hers. So i think the author backed himself into an impossible corner here. That is not to say her section isn't powerfully moving as she toils with her autistic son and is a far better representation of motherhood, than his section is about fatherhood. And then we have the third and final section. A series of phone calls between the two over an event that happens in the man's house. This is the first time they genuinely relate, as in they are 'present' together in the moment and actually conversing. And of course they're not really. They're not really making a connection, he is not really listening to her. She cannot see his face to judge her reactions, since he is down the other end of a telephone line. However, I found the event itself so shocking, I actually felt this was the best part of the novel. But it also didn't seem to fit with the rest of the novel. Although the characters were the same, the shock of them actually being on the same page was strangely jolting. It did seem to come from another book altogether. A very strange effect to wreak on the reader and not one intended I'm guessing. I found the book a slog, particularly the first 180 pages or so because I just couldn't get into his self-pity and patent unlikableness. But I gave it 3 stars for sections 2 and 3 even though I didn't think they made the book hang together as a whole.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marissa

    What did I think? What DID I THINK? What DIDN'T I think! What is left to possibly think about after reading this novel? Nothing. Nothing is left after the completion of a novel that already forces you to ponder about everything. This book has it all. If you're into the whole romantic thing, don't worry this book has got it. If you're not into romance, don't fret! The romance in this book is pretty demented. I want to say how it's a real page turner, but let's be honest, if you read the book you What did I think? What DID I THINK? What DIDN'T I think! What is left to possibly think about after reading this novel? Nothing. Nothing is left after the completion of a novel that already forces you to ponder about everything. This book has it all. If you're into the whole romantic thing, don't worry this book has got it. If you're not into romance, don't fret! The romance in this book is pretty demented. I want to say how it's a real page turner, but let's be honest, if you read the book you would understand, It might take you a long while to complete just a page, but they will turn! Mark my words, they will turn, but don't set yourself a time limit...you will want to give yourself all of the necessary time time in the world to sit there and let yourself be enthralled by every word, phrase and sentence Grossman creates into magic. Keep in mind, you are not reading a book, you are examining poetry. This is a front row seat to a show of lust, romance, love, passionate fury, heartbreak and that sadness we call life. This book has personally helped me reflect on people in general- their attitudes, demeanor and reasonings for why they do the insane things they do. I feel as though I've come to know these characters in an intimate sort of way and closing the cover when finishing this book was difficult to do because it would mean acknowledging the end of their escape from reality as well as my own, but that comes to show just how deep you will fall into this intriguing well of greatness when you read this book for yourself. Boy, how I hope...you DO read this book for yourself.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laurent

    One of the most emotionally intense books i read, From the the beginning of the book Jaïr shares his feelings with Mirjam, a teacher he met at the school of his son. He contacts her and tells her he instantly felt an intense connection with her. After witch they gradually develop a correspondence based relationship in which the aim is to expose and express their desires, fantasies, neuroses and hurts. This lasts for six months, until Jaïr suddenly stops writing after Mirjam tries to look him up. One of the most emotionally intense books i read, From the the beginning of the book Jaïr shares his feelings with Mirjam, a teacher he met at the school of his son. He contacts her and tells her he instantly felt an intense connection with her. After witch they gradually develop a correspondence based relationship in which the aim is to expose and express their desires, fantasies, neuroses and hurts. This lasts for six months, until Jaïr suddenly stops writing after Mirjam tries to look him up. Only then we hear Mirjam's own thoughts, written in a notebook, giving a partly more practical approach towards their conversation. Detailing her own life, her doubts wether a relation of this intensity could last for long and the impact of their affair on her relationship and autistic son. In the last part Mirjam and Jaïr eventually meet, but i feel i would spoil the outcome by telling about it. As an insight in the emotions of two people unfettered by any practical restraints, crossing their own personal boundaries and exposing themselves in their deepest intimacy this book can be a bit overwhelming at times, but as a critical reflection on love, intimacy or even the act of writing it's well worth the read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Probably not a book to read when you're lonely, as the overwhelming lonely aching yearning of the characters is really overpowering. A man catches sight of a woman he doesn't know at a reunion, begins writing to her, and immediately they are both caught in a whirlwind of revelation and feelings and... The first two-thirds of the book, you read only Yair's (the male's) letters. You had to intuit what you think may or may not have been in the replies that are referred to. He's really intense and Probably not a book to read when you're lonely, as the overwhelming lonely aching yearning of the characters is really overpowering. A man catches sight of a woman he doesn't know at a reunion, begins writing to her, and immediately they are both caught in a whirlwind of revelation and feelings and... The first two-thirds of the book, you read only Yair's (the male's) letters. You had to intuit what you think may or may not have been in the replies that are referred to. He's really intense and unrelenting and so so so self-punishing and there was a point at which I just had to put it down and walk away. I was glad I came back to it in the end, but this is one of those books where in order to read it, you have to accept the fallacy from the beginning. You have to say OK fine, he wrote to her, she agreed to write, they IMMEDIATELY had a connection, etc., etc. If you let yourself not believe those things or doubt them, then the story won't work for you at all. Some of this book was almost unbearably sexy. Some of it was very painful and biting. Either way, it is not for the faint of heart.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    It feels wrong to give this book three stars, since there were perfect passages in it, words that brought back memories and experiences I hadnt even known I had. Paragraphs that precisely described everyday phenomena that Id never before put to words. I liked the book on the whole, but I think the parts were greater than the sum. I'm not even sure of that: I might come back in two years and decide it's one of the best books I've ever read, or simply shallow beneath its apparent profundity. Still, It feels wrong to give this book three stars, since there were perfect passages in it, words that brought back memories and experiences I hadn’t even known I had. Paragraphs that precisely described everyday phenomena that I’d never before put to words. I liked the book on the whole, but I think the parts were greater than the sum. I'm not even sure of that: I might come back in two years and decide it's one of the best books I've ever read, or simply shallow beneath its apparent profundity. Still, the "sum" drove me a bit crazy. This book allows you to get caught in cricks and cracks in your own imagination, in a simultaneously glorious and sad way, but the second it reintroduces a hint of reality you see this all as dangerous and creepy. And you second-guess your identification with the words before you, and wonder if this proves that you’re as crazy as the books’ obsessive letter-writers. I don't know; I'm still dwelling. ETA: I just re-read a few passages, and couldn't resist bumping it up a star.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)

    I registered a book at BookCrossing.com! http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/12704642 This book is infuriating! Essentially a one-sided book of letters from a thirty-something man to a woman he spies at a reunion, the concept is unusual. Some of the prose is stunning, really profound streams of consciousness. However, these brief passages are hidden in the depths of so much arrogant, egotistical whining that it became a real slog to finish the book. I've seen effusive five star reviews for Be My I registered a book at BookCrossing.com! http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/12704642 This book is infuriating! Essentially a one-sided book of letters from a thirty-something man to a woman he spies at a reunion, the concept is unusual. Some of the prose is stunning, really profound streams of consciousness. However, these brief passages are hidden in the depths of so much arrogant, egotistical whining that it became a real slog to finish the book. I've seen effusive five star reviews for Be My Knife so obviously others have got into the writing in a way that I was unable to do. Still, having finally got to the decidedly bizarre ending, I am relieved to stop!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Grant Campbell

    A tough book, and one that leaves me with mixed feelings. Very powerful, very disturbing. But Grossman's compassion wins through in the end: he steadily, calmly, leads you into some very dark places, and makes you look at them. And oddly enough, you feel better somehow for the trip. The closest analogy I can think of is the trip to the underworld that takes place in so many epics like the Odyssey and the Aeneid and, of course, Dante. You see and hear the suffering, and it awakens your A tough book, and one that leaves me with mixed feelings. Very powerful, very disturbing. But Grossman's compassion wins through in the end: he steadily, calmly, leads you into some very dark places, and makes you look at them. And oddly enough, you feel better somehow for the trip. The closest analogy I can think of is the trip to the underworld that takes place in so many epics like the Odyssey and the Aeneid and, of course, Dante. You see and hear the suffering, and it awakens your understanding and pity. A tough book, and I'm not sure I'd call it a successful one. But well worth reading.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    The first part drove me crazy. A man is corresponding with a woman he has only seen once and never met. In the first part of the book one only reads the letters that he writes to her. He is so neurotic, it's hard for me to imagine why she would write back to him. He makes her into an image that he wants her to be. Then in part 2 it is only her writing to him, but after he stops writing to her, so she is not actually sending the letters. Does she write to him because she wants to be the person he The first part drove me crazy. A man is corresponding with a woman he has only seen once and never met. In the first part of the book one only reads the letters that he writes to her. He is so neurotic, it's hard for me to imagine why she would write back to him. He makes her into an image that he wants her to be. Then in part 2 it is only her writing to him, but after he stops writing to her, so she is not actually sending the letters. Does she write to him because she wants to be the person he imagines her to be? (And in part does become so.) Or because she hopes to help him, to change him for the better? Maybe both. It is well written, but not easy to read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Avital

    David Grossman goes down a spiral into the psyche of a man and a woman. The man, married with a son, sees the woman, married and with a son as well, in a moment of vulnerability in a party, and starts writing to her. He wants her, or rather, the exchange of letters, to be his knife-to slice down to his essence, accept and release the hidden parts of his personality. She is flattered and moved, and soon includes him in her world. I wasn't too fond of the narrator, but I was intrigued by him. The David Grossman goes down a spiral into the psyche of a man and a woman. The man, married with a son, sees the woman, married and with a son as well, in a moment of vulnerability in a party, and starts writing to her. He wants her, or rather, the exchange of letters, to be his knife-to slice down to his essence, accept and release the hidden parts of his personality. She is flattered and moved, and soon includes him in her world. I wasn't too fond of the narrator, but I was intrigued by him. The woman touched me deeper with her emotional depth.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gary Murning

    I seem to have been reading this book forever. A thin book by my usual standards, it was a novel I found I simply couldn't plough through. Intense and emotionally draining, it demanded that I linger amongst its pages, living the story in a far more unrelenting way than I have experienced in some time. Be My Knife is unlike anything I ever remember reading before. Rich and all-encompassing it shocked, confused, enlightened and perhaps more than anything made me question my own way of being I seem to have been reading this book forever. A thin book by my usual standards, it was a novel I found I simply couldn't plough through. Intense and emotionally draining, it demanded that I linger amongst its pages, living the story in a far more unrelenting way than I have experienced in some time. Be My Knife is unlike anything I ever remember reading before. Rich and all-encompassing it shocked, confused, enlightened and – perhaps more than anything – made me question my own way of being during such "conditions". A quiet masterpiece but expect it to require much from you, the reader.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tal Allweil

    This story has so much heart, so much unvarnished humanity, that it's slow to digest. Consisting of letters between the husband and wife of two different not unhappily married couples, it's a naked telling of the tribulations of self, love, and parenthood in a world that doesn't overly concern itself with people's private tribulations, do long as they remain private. Not an easy or quick read, but a satisfying lens into an intimacy seldom delved in novels.

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