90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Etgar Keret

Etgar Keret has been called the Kafka, the Vonnegut, the Woody Allen of Israel. He’s with us.

Etgar Keret (Moshe Shai)

Etgar Keret (Moshe Shai)

Etgar Keret writes stories so short and weird and wonderful they make you stop and think.  Could your lover have a zipper under his tongue and another man entirely inside?  Will our lies come back to greet us in another life?

Keret is a fabulist, and hip, and deep.  And Israeli.  Critics compare him to Kafka, Kurt Vonnegut, Woody Allen.  A writer who knows what Bruno Bettelheim called “the uses of enchantment,” in a life and place that can seem relentlessly brutal.

This hour, On Point:  talking goldfish, gunpoint composition, and Israeli writer, Etgar Keret.

-Tom Ashbrook

 

 

Guests

Etgar Keret, Israeli author and filmmaker, his latest book is Suddenly, a Knock on the Door.

From Tom’s Reading List

Newsweek “Ensconced in this new life, Keret spent eight years on the new book (it was published in Hebrew in 2010), his sixth collection since 1992. He did plenty else during that time, including codirecting a movie. But the stories that are his trademark—that start out conventionally (“Robbie was seven when he told his first lie”) then veer toward the absurd (a gumball machine transports Robbie to a place where his lies actually transpire)—trickled out more slowly than at any time since he began writing.”

Toronto Star “What a strange and wonderful adventure is an Etgar Keret story collection. At any given moment, you may find yourself in the company of a girl who has spent her childhood on top of a refrigerator, or a slow-witted Mossad agent who pulls a dwarf KGB spy from the back of his mind, or even a young lover whose beautiful girlfriend every night turns into a fat man with a hairy back.”

USA Today “A few years ago, July told me she really enjoyed Keret’s short stories, particularly his 2006 collection, The Nimrod Flipout. After reading a couple pieces by the acclaimed Israeli writer, I became a big fan.”

Excerpt

Use the navigation bar at the bottom of this frame to reformat the excerpt to best suit your reading experience.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Leora

    Great writer. Do you know his first name means “challenge” in Hebrew?

  • Julia

    Please ask if being the child of holocaust survivors contributed to his style or subject matter? Being a 2nd Generationer myself, I imagine it would! 

  • Laurie

     Tom, this is why I listen to your show as often as possible! What an exciting writer. I should be doing other things, but I can’t escape from my kitchen — amazed by your radio conversation. Headed out to buy the book as soon as you’re done! My clean kitchen thanks you.

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed his story Fatso on This American Life.  I keep meaning to add his books to the ever expanding pile of books I need to read. 

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Definitely Different!  These short reads, between LONG pledge drives, are intriguing!

  • Yevno Aron

    Vonnegut is not Jewish.
    However, he is German.
    Etgar is a Germanic  JeW

    • Pruethorner

      Vonnegut is of German extraction. He is an American in terms of culture. There is nothing Germanic about Keret. He has a quixotic sense of the absurd, which can hardly be called Germanic.

    • Eliezer Pennywhistler

       And Gabriel García Márquez is a Colombian novelist.  And both Margaret Atwood and William Gibson are Canadian novelists.Did you, by some chance, have a point?

  • Norma Ratner Waldhorn

    His stories are so fresh and wise at the same time. Reading or listening to his work is a true delight. I wish I could read them in Hebrew.

    • Pruethorner

      Learn Hebrew then! After two years you will be able to read them in Hebrew. The language is fairly simple.

  • Anonymous

    Only seven comments? That surprised me though on second thought it shouldn’t have. I bailed out after 30 minutes even though Keret is a good but not great writer. He is also nothing like Woody Allen who is not a good writer.

    Keret is also no like Kafka. He is more like Bruno Schulz the Jewish writer who lived in Poland and was murdered there by an SS officer in 1942. (That was a real loss for literature).

    I doubt though that the host Mr. Ashbrook knows that much about literature and his repeated political comments shows this. 
    Would he have asked  Hungarian, Russian or Spanish writers if they work had political meaning. 

    Literature is not politics it’s about the human imagination ability to transform reality. 

    No wonder only seven people left comments here. 

    • Eliezer Pennywhistler

       The world is not measured by the number of comments received.

  • Mesmerized

    Never heard of this writer before, but I started listening to the interview on my drive home from the gym, with all sorts of immediate tasks planned (i.e. showering, eating), and instead I hurried inside and have been sitting on the couch, rapt, for the past hour… New fan here! Can’t wait to read his work!

  • Pingback: A Sense of the Absurd with Etgar Keret | Modular Designs' World | a blog about more than carpet

  • Slipstream

    I very much enjoyed this broadcast.  It is nice to know that the fabulist short story tradition is alive and well, at least in Israel.  Of course, fantasy/SF has been popular in recent years, but Keret’s work seems to fall into a specific branch that you could probably trace back to old folk tales like the Brothers Grimm.  (I havent researched this at all, just talking off the top of my head). 

    It is also interesting to come across an artist who speaks with such disarming frankness and amusement about his own creative processes and culture.  I will have to check out some of his writing.

  • box set

    Have
    10
    minutes to
    Organize DVD Range
    Complications

    While
    scared
    of that organization needs
    to take hours and
    also days, this
    really is cannot
    be entirely true. With
    just somewhat
    preplanning as
    well as a program to
    make Step By Step DVD
    Set
    collection problems, you
    could finally take
    control of your movies and videos. Even
    though you will
    possibly not are
    convinced your clutter is
    a concern, the
    more you can’t
    organize, a
    lot more frustrated you
    will end up along
    with your loss
    of the
    whole. The
    planet have troubles selecting
    the movies you
    prefer, even
    so you may
    even discover
    that you have troubles if
    you go
    to the store since
    you need
    ideas of every
    thing you have and every
    thing you you
    should not.The First Three
    Minutes
    You might
    want to research
    your Hart To Hart DVD
    Set
    collection to
    view how
    you would might
    choose to organize any
    system overall. By
    way of example, if
    you’re a movie buff, you
    might want to organize your
    system by directors or certain actors, howevere,
    if you
    have got simply
    ton
    of videos at
    your home, make
    sure you organize DVD collection issues
    with a
    more simple system, like alphabetization or
    some other system. Picking
    the correct at
    the start to
    determine what your issues
    are and
    ways in which perhaps
    you may fix them can
    assist all
    of your organization time move along more
    smoothly.The Next Three
    Minutes
    In the
    next few
    minutes of
    times you
    will need to organize Hunter DVD
    Set
    collection problems, it
    is best to start organizing machine
    within
    the application.
    This DVD collection program will
    encourage you to employ
    a virtual bookshelf of
    what to ‘rest’ any
    DVDs. Since
    you do
    this, you’ll
    make without
    you’re
    able to see instantly that
    which you own and that
    which you do
    not ever. That
    should guarantee that
    you’re not buying quite
    a few of
    your DVD thinking
    that you’re
    forgetting that
    you own certain DVDs altogether. Invest
    time to begin typing through
    the titles on
    the movies your
    very own.The Last Four
    Minutes
    You continues
    to
    get ready DVD collection problems of
    these final minutes, assisting
    to establish
    a rhythm along
    with system for
    one’s collection. However,
    you might not completely find
    themselves your
    corporation, you
    can establish the
    usual foundation that’ll
    permit
    you to spend a
    whole lot more time eventually
    solving
    the chaos. Will
    be possible to
    maintain the
    organization system you
    might have created at
    this moment by
    way of including
    new videos whilst
    you purchase
    them. Shelling
    out some
    additional minutes everyday
    can
    aid you to align
    as
    well as organize DVD collection issues
    you might face at
    some point before they become problems.With
    this
    plan of action to
    ready DVD collection problems, you’ll
    be able to
    take care of including
    the roughest
    movie collection catalog. Despite
    the fact that this
    may not appear
    like a
    huge problem to
    manage, it’s
    always something
    can fill
    your
    lifetime you
    might say that
    could stop
    you from experiencing
    the entertainment collection you
    use.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Aug 22, 2014
Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Florrissant, Mo. (AP)

The National Guard and Eric Holder in Ferguson. ISIS beheads an American journalist. Texas Governor Rick Perry gets a mug shot. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Aug 22, 2014
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP)

The Ice Bucket Challenge: ALS, viral fundraising and how we give in the age of social media.

RECENT
SHOWS
Aug 21, 2014
Jen Joyce, a community manager for the Uber rideshare service, works on a laptop before a meeting of the Seattle City Council, Monday, March 17, 2014, at City Hall in Seattle. (AP)

We’ll look at workers trying to live and make a living in the age of TaskRabbit and computer-driven work schedules.

 
Aug 21, 2014
In this November 2012, file photo, posted on the website freejamesfoley.org, shows American journalist James Foley while covering the civil war in Aleppo, Syria. In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. (AP)

An American is beheaded. We’ll look at the ferocity of ISIS, and what to do about it.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Why Facebook And Twitter Had Different Priorities This Week
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

There’s no hidden agenda to the difference between most people’s Facebook and Twitter feeds this week. Just a hidden type of emotional content and case use. Digiday’s John McDermott explains.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: August 22, 2014
Friday, Aug 22, 2014

On mixed media messaging, Spotify serendipity and a view of Earth from the International Space Station.

More »
Comment
 
Your (Weird? Wonderful? Wacky?) Roommate Stories
Tuesday, Aug 19, 2014

We asked, and you delivered: some of the best roommate stories from across our many listener input channels.

More »
2 Comments