Thursday, May 04, 2006

THE NIMROD FLIPOUT

I recently picked up this book after reading an interesting and enlightening interview with the author in a recent issue of The Believer (a rare magazine that believes that fun and intellectual content aren't mutually exclusive concepts). An ex-Israeli soldier, Etgar Keret is an absurdist who writes short (sometimes extremely short) stories that show the influence of writers as disperate as Vonnegut and Raymond Carver. The title story tells the tale of three friends from the army possessed by the spirit of a fourth friend who commited suicide. Though this might seem like heavy subject matter, Keret has a light touch, and his seemingly off hand surrealism sometimes seems like a more jazzy, less depressive Kafka, if such a thing is possible. Keret shows a side of Israel not often seen in fiction, or the news, an everyday world that continues despite the raging political situation permeating the background and tells of a younger generation of Israelis not beholden to the myths of the past. Multitalented, he writes a regular column called Citizen K, his stories have appeared on This American Life, and he's also a filmmaker and graphic novelist.

Check him out.