Keret Flip-Out

The BBC has a profile of Israeli writer Etgar Keret, whose collection The Nimrod Flip-Out comes out in Britain in March (it’ll be re-issued here in the States by FSG.)

The stories are subtly subversive, hinting at the pressure-cooker situation in which Israelis live without ever descending into overt politics. Keret says that is intentional.

“I don’t want to represent the political reality, I want to show people who live in it,” he says.

“It’s like when you use a mobile phone, it affects the TV – it makes a noise. I want to talk about this noise, not the phone call.”

Keret tells the BBC journalist an anecdote I’d heard him say before, and which I find hilarious:

And he recently appeared at a reading in France with Arab writer Sayed Kashua – where he discovered they had similar worries about the event.

“I’m always afraid of events in France. There’s always some pointy-chinned woman who stands up at the end and says: ‘You’re a baby killer, your hands are covered with blood.’

“And Sayed said: ‘I always get some guy saying: ‘You’re all suicide bombers, you have blood on your hands.’

“So I saw this woman in the crowd, she was nervous the whole time, and I was thinking to myself, that she was the one.

“And as soon as we were finished speaking she stood up and said: ‘This whole time I have been confused. Which one of you is the Israeli writer and which is the Palestinian?'”

Cracks me up every time.