The annual Singapore Writers Festival which I have been attending faithfully for the past five years has introduced me to many writers who I would otherwise never read if not for their interesting talks.
I attended a public reading by Etgar Keret in SWF 2017 and found his writing to be humourous and unlike any of the authors I have read, chiefly because I have never read books from Israel before.
The blurb in front describes his short stories as Kafkaesque (-characteristic or reminiscent of the oppressive or nightmarish qualities of Franz Kafka’s fictional world. – Dictionary) Frankly, the only Kafka I have read is Metamorphosis which I found weird, and had only read it for a MOOC course.
The title of the book is also the title for the opening chapter which is hilarious and introduces you to what we can expect in the rest of the books. The 190-page book comprises 35 short stories of various length. The shortest one is just two pages long.
The stories are written from the point of views (POV) of a myriad of characters. Some stories are realistic and give me a view of how living in Isreal is like, with national service (like in Singapore), the threat of terrorism, violence and being at war. Like Singapore too, there are colourful immigrants from China and Arabic countries which are depicted in the stories.
I find I enjoy his stories more for the plots and twists, like Suddenly, A Knock On the Door and What, of this Goldfish, Would you Wish? Stories which focussed more on characters to forward the stories lack colours in comparison.
Having said that, there is never a dull moment reading this book and I can’t wait to read his second book. Give it a go.