Fifteen years and thousands of miles away from that moment, which doesn’t seem far off at all, Grossman says, “This is what terrifies me, to see how people fossilize in front of this situation, that they regard as a divine decree that orders us to kill the Arabs and be killed by them, to live by the sword. It is not a natural law that we have to suffer that. Now, if you go and tell about this reality -- but in different words, not in the usual cliches, the cliches of the government, of the army, of the media, but you find new words -- suddenly people feel that they are exposed to this reality from different points of view, and now they can react to it differently.”
It is this, Grossman says, that makes a writer worthy of attacking political problems, “this ability to change points of view and suddenly to see the story from a different angle, and by that to liberate yourself from your own prison.” It is hard to imagine many writers more worthy than Grossman, this unlikely redheaded Quixote with a child‘s eyes who preaches, despite all the gory evidence to the contrary, that literature can change minds and melt hearts congealed by fear and hatred, or to imagine anyone better able, to quote See Under: LOVE, to write and flirt and play the clown like “a wedding entertainer, and something of a liar and an adulterer of words, and write with love, and most of all with madness.”
After two hours of talking, Grossman politely excuses himself. He has to save his voice, he explains, for a reading tonight. He walks off toward the elevator and up to his room, where the telephone and CNN await him.