Friday, October 8, 2010

Etgar Keret - Obscure? Sure...

The Nimrod Flipout: Stories        Jetlag: Five Graphic Novellas

A co-worker introduced me to this author...Etgar Keret, from Israel. He writes stories that are kind of strange, sometimes sad, sometimes very touching and sweet, and often leaving the reader (or at least me) with questions or observations to ponder.

I read The Nimrod Flipout. Many of the stories are super short, less than two pages. Sometimes there is something unusual...a talking fish, shrinking parents, a couple who gives birth to a horse...and sometimes not, sometimes regular life things with Keret's own twist.

One of my favorite stories was Surprise Egg, where a woman gets killed in a suicide bombing, which is of course very sad. But when they do the autopsy, they find she's filled with tumors, she was actually near death with this undiagnosed cancer. The pathologist struggled with whether or not to tell the husband when he came to identify the body, "look, your wife was going to die anyway".

A Good-Looking Couple has a man and a woman having sex for the first time in his apartment. The story is from his point of view, and hers. And the cat has an opinion. So does the door. The television gets to put in its two cents as well.

In the first story, Fatso, a man meets a beautiful woman, they get involved. The only strange thing is that at night, she changes into an ugly, fat, boorish man. This does affect the relationship a bit, though not as much as you might think.

Other times Keret will use a kiss. Or being naked. Or one word a baby won't say to bring something poignant or just interesting to the surface.

I really liked these stories.

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