This newest collection of short stories by Israeli author Etgar Keret is bold and brilliant. Each story is an adventure into the mind of an insightful and provocative writer who shares his visions of a world that is uniquely interesting. The stories are both humorous and serious; it is up to the reader to discover the difference.
This collection includes an incredibly wide assortment of tales. "For Only $9.99 (Inc. Tax and Postage)" could act as a comedy stand-up routine complete with punchline. After reading "Horsie," the seemingly lovely story of a man getting used to becoming a father, the only comment once can makeis “Huh!” "A Good Looking Couple" examines the progress of a date from everyone’s point of view - including the guy, girl, the cat and the door. Now that is perspective! "Halibut," one of the few vaguely political stories, relies on a talking fish to make its statement. The opening story, "Fatso," proves that love really can cross all boundaries.
The language is staccato-crisp throughout the book, containing gems like “...he could feel his hemorrhoids opening one by one like flowers in springtime." The initial sentence of the stories gives an idea of the clean, catching writing style from “This is one story you have got to hear!” to “So let’s say I’m dead now, or I open a self-service Laundromat, the first one in Israel.” Each word is carefully chosen to enhance the meaning and rhythm of the story. Credit must also be given to translators Miriam Shlesinger and Sondra Silverston, who are able to maintain the voice so clearly.
Etgar Keret is touted as the new voice of Israel. His stories, with a few exceptions, are non-ideological, non-political and non-religious. Instead they translate and speak to all of us coping in a world of change - and the voice is one of laughter and mischief. It is a sign of hope for the future.