Thursday, May 24, 2012


Suddenly, a Knock on the Door, and Other Stories to Read in the Night

"I want to promote the concept of the badly written good story. It is writing, but in a sense it doesn’t come from the written word as much as it comes from a storytelling tradition. Which is why people like reading it to their girlfriends."
—Israeli writer Etgar Keret, of startlingly thin house fame, and author of the fantastic* short story collection 'Suddenly, a Knock on the Door,' talks to The Daily.

*If you're unfamiliar with Keret, "The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God," a very short story from his 2004 collection of the same name, is a good starting point.

Update! Suddenly, a Knock on the Door also comes as an audio book, with narration by, among others, Willem Dafoe, Stanley Tucci, and Ira Glass. Here's Ira Glass reading its title story:

Ira Glass, "Suddenly, a Knock on the Door."

21 Comments / Post A Comment


PRI's Selected Shorts did a whole episode on him:


Ah! Ah! He is one of my all-time favorite writers. And I haven't read Suddenly, a Knock on the Door yet! (Is it On or At?)


Also, does anybody want to talk about the movie Wristcutters, an adaptation of his story Kneller's Happy Campers? Tom Waits! Will Arnett! The adorable Patrick Fugit! Kind of a dumb happy ending that subverts everything the original story was about, but I still like it!


@frigwiggin I really like the movie too!


@frigwiggin YES!


He is one of the major reasons I kind of want to visit Israel (dorky? yes), and also the reason I'm spamming up this comments section. But seriously, he is so flippin' good!


@frigwiggin I can spam with you! I adore him too. And I've always wanted to go to Norway because of Roald Dahl's memoir "Boy"


There is a really good interview with him in Believer from a while back. And...that short story about crazy glue...it's one of my favorite things ever.


good havens

@bluesuedeshoes that was such an interesting read!! I just got back from a trip to Israel, and this was a great follow-up to the trip. Thanks!


I like that point - that maybe as our writing gets more sophisticated, we lose something? Simplicity, perhaps? Or enthusiasm?

I think that's why Samuel Beckett used to write in French and then translate them back into English - as a way to distil and simplify.


I love Keret. His plots are so out there and at the same time so simple... and I really like the way he talks about how a society learns to live with violence, it makes Israel seem not so different from Mexico.
The bus driver...is awesome, and he has some other stories on his website.
Also, his books are really good gifts for teenagers, my high school students loved him.


He had a good one on This American Life too, I think, about a guy who goes to an alternate dimension and meets all the people he made up in his lies. Unless I'm thinking of someone else.


@stuffisthings No, you're right. That's him. It's from Suddenly.


I once saw Keret "in conversation" with Ira Glass (double nerd swoon), on the topic of passion and writers. My favorite quote was something like: (In broken Israeli accent) "It's like the American Idol guy vs. Bob Dyaln. The American Idol guy is singing and thinking, 'in two seconds my voice will go up like this.' But Bob Dylan is IN the song. He's thinking, 'I'm going to stab you with a knife.' That's what makes a good writer."

Greta Oto

Ira glass reads suddenly a knock on the door, for your nerd swooning pleasure.


I love Keret! Doree actually clued me in to his stories. It's all connected!!!


Etgar Keret is great. In fact, I think I'm going to go re-read Girl On The Fridge right now.

So good.

Greta Oto

I may be too late to jump onto this... but favourite Etgar Keret stories, anyone?
I've only read one of his books (The bus-driver...) but I reread Breaking the Pig dozens of times. I love it.


@fleurdelis Breaking the Pig is great. I also really like the story about the Mossad agent who interrogates himself.


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