1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $28.00

Buy for $28.00

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

INTERNATIONAL BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE • A remarkable novel of suffering, love, and healing—the story of three generations of women on an unlikely journey to a Croatian island and a secret that needs to be told—from the internationally best-selling author of To the End of the Land

“A magnificent book . . . The way Grossman writes about these regions is unique, with a deep understanding of our experience.” —Josip Mlakić, Express (Croatia)

More Than I Love My Life is the story of three strong women: Vera, age ninety; her daughter, Nina; and her granddaughter, Gili, who at thirty-nine is a filmmaker and a wary consumer of affection. A bitter secret divides each mother and daughter pair, though Gili—abandoned by Nina when she was just three—has always been close to her grandmother.

With Gili making the arrangements, they travel together to Goli Otok, a barren island off the coast of Croatia, where Vera was imprisoned and tortured for three years as a young wife after she refused to betray her husband and denounce him as an enemy of the people. This unlikely journey—filtered through the lens of Gili’s camera, as she seeks to make a film that might help explain her life—lays bare the intertwining of fear, love, and mercy, and the complex overlapping demands of romantic and parental passion.

More Than I Love My Life was inspired by the true story of one of David Grossman’s longtime confidantes, a woman who, in the early 1950s, was held on the notorious Goli Otok (“the Adriatic Alcatraz”). With flashbacks to the stalwart Vera protecting what was most precious on the wretched rock where she was held, and Grossman’s fearless examination of the human heart, this swift novel is a thrilling addition to the oeuvre of one of our greatest living novelists, whose revered moral voice continues to resonate around the world.

©2021 David Grossman (P)2021 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

INTERNATIONAL BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE

“Cast[s] a spell that lingers . . . Grossman’s evocative gifts are in full force [and] his understanding of the opaque ways of love—sometimes subterranean, often unexpected or arbitrary—is unmatched . . . [His] novels have a cumulative power that subsumes mere plausibility. He succeeds in transcending the permutations of his plots and the localness of his settings—indeed, to make deliberate use of the Israeli template—to create themes of loss, the redemptive power of love, the immutable scars of history and the consoling effect of humor that resonate well beyond the world of the kibbutz or the background of the Holocaust . . . To read [Grossman] is to understand that there is a world beyond the political, even in these re-tribalized times, one in which there is room for recognition, however incomplete and often painful, of who we are in our own eyes and in one another’s.” —Daphne Merkin, The New York Times Book Review

“A somber and affecting tale without recourse to undue melodrama or psychobabble. This delicately crafted novel, crisply translated from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen, is a fitting tribute to his friend.” —Houman Barekat, The Sunday Times (London) 

“Another extraordinary novel from Grossman, a book as beautiful and sad as anything you’ll read this year . . . A book of secrets wrapped within secrets . . . It is a love story, a story about a family and their myriad individual tragedies. But it is also about the way that the personal can never be wholly separated from the political, about the lingering wounds of history, about how violence seeps into all the dark corners of a life. It is, in the end, about Israel.  . . . Immaculately translated by Jessica Cohen.” —Alex Preston, The Observer

What listeners say about More than I Love My Life

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    25
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    23
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    21
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

I got this book because of the great reviews and because David Grossman is a revered Israeli writer whose work I have never read. None of the characters are portrayed in a way that makes the listener empathize with them or become concerned about their fate. Their "reconciliation" seems contrived and doesn't merit hours of listening. The descriptive writing and dialogue are not in any way compelling and I don't think this is the fault of the translation. I generally don't like to post negative reviews, but to me this book is a case of "an emperor who has no clothes."

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Gilli Messer is fantastic!

I highly recommend the audio of “More Than I Love My Life” by David Grossman, translated by Jessica Cohen and performed by Gilli Messer. Messer narrates the voices with aplomb and skill. Her eastern European accented English lends the audio authenticity to this rich and involved story. If I allowed a criticism, it would be that it was overly ambitious…..there is a lot going on. So much, that after finishing the audio, I needed to go back to the beginning to remember how this all started. There are an abundant of tangents that throw the story at times.

This is a story of three generations of women who suffered loss which resulted in abandonment. It’s a story of women attempting to find forgiveness and understanding of each other. The story begins with a birthday party for 90-year-old Vera. Gili, Vera’s granddaughter, is now a documentary filmmaker, decides to document Vera’s life. Vera was sent to Goli Otok, the Adriatic prison island, after refusing to renounce her dead husband as being a Stalinist. Her daughter Nina, Gili’s mother, felt abandoned by both parents because at age 6, she was sent to live with her hateful aunt. What Vera endured is unfathomable.

Vera is released after 3 years and moves to a kibbutz in Israel with Nina. Nina never rebounds from her feelings of abandonment and her story is almost as tragic as Vera’s. Nina marries, has Gili, and abandons Gili. Luckily for Gili, Vera raises her along with Gili’s father.

The three women, plus Gili’s father, also a filmmaker, venture to record Vera’s story. Nina adds her tragic parts, and Gili struggles to understand motive and revelations. Generations of suffering, grief, loss, and trauma snowball into a heartbreaking story.

Adding impact is that this story is loosely based on a Yugoslavian partisan fighter.

Even with all the tangents, which were close to being a distraction, this is a fantastic audio.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

More Than I love this Book!

David Grossman you are fascinating. Jessica Cohen you a poet. Gilli Messer, your narration brought the book alive.
I read the book in Hebrew. I loved it. I listened to the book this week and I was fascinated by the translation and the narration. Gilli Messer is a true actor. She brought the characters to life. I was transported with her to the Kibbutz, to "Goli Otack" and to the lives the characters lived.
I did not want it to end. I wanted to continue and listen to Vera telling her stories. Rafi suffering, and Nina's tragic life.
I also loved that the storyteller in the book is Gili, and the narrator;s name is Gilli. I felt that the narrator felt and immersed herself in the story.
Kudus!


1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

The characters, though based on reality, never came fully alive for me, so the secrets and revelations never touched me as I’m sure David Grossman intended.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story

The book kept my attention. I finished it within the week.The narrator did a great job bringing the story to life.