If you’ve read my review of his other book, Suddenly, A Knock On The Door (https://vickychong.wordpress.com/2019/01/18/suddenly-a-knock-on-the-door-by-etgar-keret/) you would know this Israeli writer has been described as Kafkaesque, for his bizarre stories which he makes them so realistic you don’t find them weird until you reach the end and pause. This 196-page book comprises 21 short stories and one novella.
Let me focus on the novella which has a novel idea, pardon the pun, of setting in a world where everyone who had committed suicide gather. When Mordy, the protagonist meets someone, his first reaction is to guess how that person ‘offed’. A Juliet is one who had taken poison and thus shows no external injuries. His friend Uzi has a scar on his right temple where the bullet went in. Then there was Kneller, who ‘with every step he took, his body went in all directions like he was trying to go lots of different places at the same time and couldn’t make up his kind.’ So they all gather at this world where it’s pretty regular like the mortal world, with supermarkets, bars and working people. When Mordy learns that his love Desiree had also offed, he sets out on an adventurous journey to find her.
Apart from this novella, the other short stories have protagonists you probably wouldn’t meet in real life so it is fascinating to go into their world. In Good Intention, we meet a sniper sent to assassinate a very nice guy, who had treated him kindly as a child in an orphanage and found he couldn’t complete the task, only to learn a twist at the end.
Seeing that this is the Year of the Pig, there’s this lovely story I want to read to my nephew, about a child who was given a piggy bank to save for a Bart Simpson doll, but he got so attached to the pig he decided to save it from his father who was adamant about breaking it.
There are many other stories which I am sure you’d enjoy. Go read.