Literary Saloon
Site of Review.

Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs.

the Best
the Rest
Review Index




to e-mail us:

support the site

In Association with Amazon.com

In association with Amazon.com - UK

In association with Amazon.ca - Canada



In association with Amazon.it - Italia

the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction


The World of the End

Ofir Touché Gafla

general information | review summaries | our review | links | about the author

To purchase The World of the End

Title: The World of the End
Author: Ofir Touché Gafla
Genre: Novel
Written: 2004 (Eng. 2013)
Length: 365 pages
Original in: Hebrew
Availability: The World of the End - US
The World of the End - UK
The World of the End - Canada
The World of the End - India
  • Hebrew title: עולם הסוף
  • Translated by Mitch Ginsburg

- Return to top of the page -

Our Assessment:

B+ : creative, and skillfully done fantasy

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Haaretz . 10/8/2004 Tali Goldshmit
Publishers Weekly . 15/4/2013 .

  From the Reviews:
  • "העיסוק בשאלות הפילוסופיות, הפסיכולוגיות והקיומיות הגדולות, שמצוי אמנם בתשתיתו של הספר, אינו מאפיל על העלילה והוא קיים רק כרובד פרשני אפשרי נוסף לה. משקלו של המוות אינו מצליח להכביד: הספר משעשע, מותח, מסקרן, וניכר בטושה גפלה, שזהו לו ספר ביכורים, שהוא נהנה מכתיבתו, ומצליח ללוש במיומנות את החומרים המרכיבים סיפור טוב: שפה, דמויות, עלילה. (...) יש בספר לא מעט הברקות של ממש, ובזכות מקוריותו הרבה, 428 עמודיו חולפים ביעף" - Tali Goldshmit, Haaretz

  • "Poignant and funny (.....) Gafla creates an interconnected puzzle of living and dead characters and their stories that will shock, amuse, and illuminate the nature of humans and their inevitable end." - Publishers Weekly

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

- Return to top of the page -

The complete review's Review:

       In The World of the End author Ofir Touché Gafla posits a different vision of the afterlife. Rather than life and everything simply coming to a (dead) end, or any one of the religious heavenly (and hellish) alternatives, the deceased find themselves, upon their decease, in the so-called 'Other World'. It is fairly paradisiacal: bodies have been fixed up in the transition, and (after-)life is comfortable, with none of the material issues from real life making for problems (pretty much everything anyone needs is provided for); as one character explains: "After you die, you get the best of both worlds, terrestrial and post-terrestrial". Yes, there are some odd things -- all the dead run around entirely naked, for example -- but it seems like a place that's pretty easy to adapt to. And for those who really can't handle it, there's always the option of pressing the 'eternal sleep'-button.
       Gafla doesn't set the entire novel in the Other World; instead, the narrative shifts back and forth between the worlds of the living and the dead. The main figure is Ben who, fifteen months after the death of his beloved and too-much-missed wife Marian, decides to follow her into the everafter -- entirely unaware that means: the Other World. He holds one last birthday bash for her in abstentia, and then he's off -- but his actions have ripple effects among the living even after his death. So, for example, his friends wanted to get famous painter Kolanski to do a portrait of the couple as a birthday present, and they provided Kolanski with a photograph of Ben and Marian from happier (i.e. when-they-were-both-alive) days -- actions which will affect other events, even as the painter declines the commission.
       Gafla does the Other World very well, but his skill really stands out in his use of the ripple-effects, and the other characters pulled into this story, back in the more conventional world. The World of the End is an artfully layered novel of connections that appear over the course of the story. Occasionally Gafla relies too heavily on withheld information -- Ben hires a private investigator in the Other World to track down Marian, and several times the P.I. complains about things that Ben failed to mention that would have made his job easier -- but especially in how the terrestrial plot advances this works very well.
       What appear to be, at first, tenuous connections in the world of the living, are nicely woven into a story that comes together very strongly. But it also proves hard to work with: it its solutions and resolutions, The World of the End can't quite sustain its early power and drive. When Ben travels back to the equivalent of Shakespearean times (travel to different eras is also possible in the Other World), preventing him for a time from direct communication with the present-day Other World, it feels rather forced, for example.
       Ben is -- or was -- a professional epilogist, "crafting surprise endings for a living", a finisher of screenplays or novels (or even wills). That puts some pressure on Gafla, who has to give his novel (and his epilogist) a conclusion worthy of the master of the craft. Gafla does tie it all together neatly enough, but it does feel a bit labored, and too labored over, especially in contrast to the (far more deceptively controlled) free-wheeling inventions from earlier in the book.
       The World of the End resembles some of the early work of Jonathan Carroll, which is pretty high fantasy praise, and sections of the novel rise even beyond that. A very solid, often very entertaining work, and a very impressive debut.

- M.A.Orthofer, 1 September 2013

- Return to top of the page -


The World of the End:
  • Tor publicity page
  • Keter publicity page
  • Q & A at the Jewish Book Council
Reviews: Other books of interest under review:

- Return to top of the page -

About the Author:

       Israeli author Ofir Touché Gafla (אופיר טושה גפלה) was born in 1968.

- Return to top of the page -

© 2013 the complete review

Main | the New | the Best | the Rest | Review Index | Links