Lovers and Strangers by David Grossman

Lovers and Strangers

David Grossman

Two stories set in Israel - one common theme running through both: love. In the first, Shaul obsesses about an affair his wife his having despite, having no certain proof. In the second we read Nilli's story written through the eyes of her estranged daughter. I enjoyed Nilli's story best - it was the easier read of the two. To me, the first story was like wading through mud - difficult, but worth the effort as you do eventually get to your destination.

She thought of the hands that would hold him there one day, and prayed that they would be good and right, and thought of the men who had held her like that, and of women whose hips she had known. Without any difficulty she remembered - she has a wonderful memory for this - the touch of beloved bodies, their smell and warmth and the music of their movement in her body, and sweet dizzying pleasure poured into her, and with all her might she emptied herself into him and diluted his body with a thousand lovers, of all colours, all languages and continents and sexes, as if wanting to alleviate his going out into the world, and the pain of translating his unique body into all the cliches of flesh he would encounter. Then she rubbed her favorite jasmine oil into her hands, the most pleasurable and profound of all the oils, and asked him to turn around again.
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