Short Review of Short Stories

24 May

Etgar Keret strikes me as a weird dude. Like, if we went out to lunch, I’m not sure what we’d talk about. Somehow I suspect the short story author—whose vignettes generally cover such weighty fare as life and death, heaven and hell, and suicide bombers—would not care to hear me expound on the merits of this season’s Bachelorette contestants. Somehow I think maybe I’d run out of things to say.

Suddenly, a Knock on the Door is Keret’s latest volume of short stories, a former collection of which I’ve reviewed on this blog in the past. It’s a quick read—none of the stories are more than a few pages—and equally as odd as previous Keret books I’ve read. Interestingly, when people talk about short story authors they like (not that I have these types of conversations with any regularity), I often mention Keret, in part because a) I don’t really love short stories, so have a limited inventory of writers to bring up and b) whether or not I love each of his books (I don’t), I have to admit that what Keret does is seriously unique. His stories are funny, but not about funny things; they’re also serious, but not depressing. Maybe sarcastic? Maybe tongue-in-cheek? It’s hard to tell.

Have you ever met one of those people that’s just hard to read? (no pun intended) Like they’re just incredibly deadpan and you’re not always sure if it’s dry humor or if maybe they’re slightly autistic and don’t understand humor or general social interaction? Etgar Keret’s books are like those people—you’re never 100% sure what he’s trying to say, but you know he’s trying to say something. If nothing else, it’s interesting thing to watch (i.e. read).

Anywho, I’ve been plowing through books lately—I see it as my body preparing for summer hibernation, during which I sit within one foot of my air-conditioner at all times and read books or marathon-watch old shows on television—so Keret’s 188-page Suddenly, a Knock on the Door was a blip in my otherwise busy roster of longer reads. It’s a quirky little book—he strikes me as a quirky little guy—and if you’re into that sort of thing, you should read it, too.

THE FACTS:
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TITLE: Suddenly, a Knock on the Door
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AUTHOR: Etgar Keret
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PAGES: 188 (in paperback)
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ALSO WROTE: The Nimrod Flipout, The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God
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SORTA LIKE: Miranda July meets Jonathan Safran Foer
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FIRST LINE: “‘Tell me a story,’ the bearded man sitting on my living-room sofa commands.”

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