Jess Row Recommends

“Every time I try to describe David Grossman’s See Under: Love, I get the same reaction: raised eyebrows and skeptical laughs,” Row says. “One writer, after hearing my attempt at a plot summary, said, ‘That sounds like the worst novel I can possibly imagine.’ OK, so I don’t have much of a future as a book publicist, but I’m going to keep trying to spread the word about this remarkable novel, which seems almost unknown outside Israel, though it’s been available in translation for fifteen years.

See Under: Love is about the Holocaust, about the origins and future of Israel and the persistence of Eastern European Jewish culture in the most extreme circumstances, but it’s so radically ambitious and makes such strange demands on the reader that to call it a “Holocaust novel” is almost beside the point. It’s been compared to The Tin Drum, The Sound and the Fury, and Midnight’s Children, and it certainly belongs in that company. It’s one of the most hallucinatory and transporting experiences I’ve ever had as a reader.”

Jess Row is the author of The Train to Lo Wu (Dial, 2005) and a professor of English at Montclair State University in New Jersey. His story “For You” will appear this fall in an anthology of Buddhist fiction from Wisdom Publications.