Be My Knife is the fifth novel by the highly acclaimed Israel novelist David Grossman, in which he explores the perennial dilemma of unrequited love. However, Grossman is far too original a novelist not to give his story a twist. The book opens with a letter written by Yair Einhorn, a neurotic, compulsive rare-book dealer, to Miriam, a beautiful, mysterious woman he glimpses "at the class reunion a few days ago--but you didn't see me". Her offhand gesture and brief, enigmatic smile makes him send her a passionate letter, what he calls a "restrained suicide note". To his joy and amazement, she writes back to him, and so begins an extraordinary love affair by letter, recounted for the first 200 pages by Yair's impulsive, impassioned and angst-ridden letters to Miriam. When Miriam finally finds her own voice towards the end of the book, Yair has raised the reader's expectation so high that ultimately her character is rather disappointing. Be My Knife is a novelist's novel about obsession, compulsion and desire. The writing is dense, demanding, and full of moments of great poetry and inventiveness, but at times it can become difficult and obscure. Stylistically Grossman is experimenting with plot and character in the grand modernist tradition, and Yair is reminiscent of the tormented "little men" in Joyce and Beckett. However, at times Grossman's brilliant artfulness overwhelms a potentially fascinating story. --Jerry Brotton

Genre: Literary Fiction

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Used availability for David Grossman's Be My Knife

Hardback Editions

February 2002 : UK Hardback
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Title: Be My Knife
Author(s): David Grossman
ISBN: 0-7475-4952-4 / 978-0-7475-4952-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


January 2002 : USA Hardback
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Title: Be My Knife: A Novel
Author(s): David Grossman
ISBN: 0-374-29977-3 / 978-0-374-29977-4 (USA edition)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

August 2003 : UK Paperback
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Title: Be My Knife
Author(s): David Grossman
ISBN: 0-7475-6148-6 / 978-0-7475-6148-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   


April 2003 : USA Paperback
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Title: Be My Knife: A Novel
Author(s): David Grossman
ISBN: 0-312-42147-8 / 978-0-312-42147-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Picador
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   


Kindle Editions

February 2014 : UK Kindle edition
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Title: Be My Knife
Author(s): David Grossman
Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks
Availability: Amazon UK   


April 2003 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: Be My Knife: A Novel
Author(s): David Grossman
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA