Excerpt from The World of the End by Ofir Touché Gafla, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The World of the End

by Ofir Touché Gafla

The World of the End
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jun 2013, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2014, 368 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Bob Sauerbrey

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


His wife smiled tenderly. "As you can see, my husband suffers from paranoia."

"When we're butchered, will you still call me paranoid?" he barked.

"Can't you see that these people are harmless?" She pointed to them, rolling her eyes to the ceiling.

"We are . . . ," Kobi, the self-chosen representative of Ben's friends, began, before losing his nerve at the sound of the artist's hate-doused voice.

"Art students? Art teachers? Art critics? Artists? I can't stand any of them."

Tali, Kobi's wife, cleared her throat. "Mr. Kolanski, we have nothing to do with the art world."

The artist swiveled in her direction and shouted, "What do you want?"

"Mr. Kolanski, we have a very close friend; his name is Ben. He has always admired your work, never missed an exhibition. A year and two months ago his wife Marian died. They loved like children. The kind of love you don't see every day. Ben mourned her so intensely he severed ties with the outside world. Till yesterday. Yesterday we were all invited to her birthday party. We thought about what would make the best present and came to a decision that nothing would make him happier than a portrait of him and his wife, drawn by his idol. . . . We know that . . ."

"Okay, I've heard enough," the artist said, "You want me to paint your wacko friend and his dead wife. Love conquers all and all that shit. She's dead, he's alive, and they're still in love. Kitsch. Camp. Colors. Romance. Get out of my house or I'll vomit on you."

"Rafael!" his wife called, giving his chair a kick and stiffening her lips.

"Oh, of course," he mocked, "you're probably moved by this nonsense, right? Think about it Bessie. If I were dead, would you be happy to get a portrait of the two of us?"

She responded at once, "Absolutely."

"Absolutely," her husband mimicked, "but not for one moment do you consider what he will do with this portrait? Shove it up his ass? Stare at it all day? And since when do I paint portraits? I've never done a portrait.. I don't believe in portraits. They stifle creativity. They habituate the mind to a single paralyzed expression, and over time your loony friend will look at the portrait and forget, more and more, what she really looked like. All he'll have left of her is a single, awful expression. Listen to me—don't document a thing! Not a thing! The more a person documents, the faster his memory betrays him. He knows he can rely on his wretched little photo album. You follow? You've all grown accustomed to indulgence! You can keep everything, everything, up here!"

Ben's friends huddled together, exchanging bashful glances. Tali, summoning her courage, pulled out a picture of Ben and his wife and extended it to the artist. She whispered, "Just in case you change your mind . . ."

The artist snatched the picture, glanced at it, and nodded. "Hmmm . . . your friend was a lucky man. The woman, on the other hand, must have had some trouble with her eyesight. Or maybe there's really something special. This is good, like me and Bessie—the flower fell in love with the thorn, that's the strongest love. The thorn pokes the flower and the flower drugs the thorn. Awake and asleep. Clamorous and quiet. No other love can endure. Two flowers bore each other to death, two thorns prick each other to death, and all the rest are just weeds. I'll give you some free advice. You say the thorn is celebrating the flower's birthday? If you love him, ignore him. After all, it's the woman's birthday, right? Hers! Any present for him will carry the mark of unnecessary pity, as though you know the present is for him since she's dead, and in a failed attempt to make things right you've tried to skirt the problem with a present that ties the two of them together, like the portrait. Think of the woman, eh? Get something she would like if she were alive. And try to find something she would love and he would hate. As far as he's concerned, she still exists, so if you get him a present that hints at death, he'll be offended. That's my advice. If you take it, great; if you don't, go to hell!"

The World of the End © Ofir Touché Gafla 2013

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Mythic Fantasy: A Mirror World

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: A Great Reckoning
    A Great Reckoning
    by Louise Penny
    Canadian author Louise Penny is back with her twelfth entry in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...
  • Book Jacket: When Breath Becomes Air
    When Breath Becomes Air
    by Paul Kalanithi
    When Breath Becomes Air is the autobiography of Paul Kalanithi, written in the time period between ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Who Said...

Men are more moral than they think...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.