Paperback: Missing Kissinger, by Etgar Keret

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The Independent Culture

Israeli writer Etgar Keret likes to keep his short fiction really short. In this collection, any story over a page and a half seems an epic. Part-fable, part-joke, his tales of personal crisis (translated by Miriam Schlesinger and Sondra Silverston) prove refreshingly surreal, but over a book start to wear thin. In "Hat Trick", a magician at a children's party tries to pull a rabbit out of a hat, but takes out only its head; in another the male narrator imagines himself a woman in the grip of menstrual cramps. Imagery of terrorism is pervasive, but his characters seem less vulnerable to sudden attack than catastrophes of their own making.

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