Ora is worried to the point of illness that her son who has been called up by the Israeli Army for a special operation is going to die. Rather than sit at home waiting for what she is certain will be the imminent arrival at her front door by men in uniform bearing bad news, Ora strikes a childish bargain with God. If she is not at home, she calculates, than the Army cannot tell her that her son has been killed. She runs off with a former lover and hikes aimlessly through northern Israel, careful to avoid any sources of news. While that is the plot it is David Grossman’s incomparable ability to capture the intensity (insanity?) of contemporary Israeli life and reveal the inner workings of a mother with a son fighting in a war that make this book Nobel caliber. Not to be overlooked is the quality of the translator, Jessica Cohen, who will make you believe you are reading this book in its original language.