Reading List Additions

I’m not familiar with Israeli author Etgar Keret, but this article intrigued me.

[Y]et the funny, talkative, self-deprecating literary star is the “ordinary” one in a family that is a microcosm of the country’s extremes. Keret’s elder brother is “a certified genius” and militant activist who formed Israel’s Legalise Marijuana movement, and fights police brutality and the building of the security wall through the West Bank. His sister, an ultra-Orthodox Jew with 10 children, campaigns against cars entering her area of Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Her beliefs forbid her from reading Keret’s sharp-edged fiction but the Hasidic books she has given him influence his writing with a universal, fable quality.

Keret’s books are read by very different segments of the Israeli and Palestinian populations, and his work is available in many translations. Still, he seems to rub some people the wrong way.

A.B. Yehoshua, the elder of Israeli literature, complains that Keret’s fiction is narrow and non-ideological. Keret says, “I think I’m very political.” But unlike the tribal definition of politics that states “You’re stupid and we know what you need”, he believes ambiguity is moral and small, human stories hold more truth than the big, certain narratives of his predecessors.

Keret’s latest book is a collection of stories, The Nimrod Flip-Out (not yet available on Amazon apparently) but you can get his best-selling collection, The Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God.