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The Seven Good Years: A Memoir by Etgar…

The Seven Good Years: A Memoir (original 2015; edition 2015)

by Etgar Keret (Author)

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152878,635 (4.07)18
Title:The Seven Good Years: A Memoir
Authors:Etgar Keret (Author)
Info:Riverhead Books (2015), Edition: 1st, 192 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Autobiography, Autographed, read

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The Seven Good Years: A Memoir by Etgar Keret (2015)



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Showing 5 of 5
This is an excellent collection of short stories from a master storyteller. Poignant and humorous, it is also a window into life in Israel. ( )
  St.CroixSue | Mar 28, 2016 |
Really delightful, amid the somehow horrible circumstances of bombings and general fear. And four translators probably helped to get it just right. ( )
  nyiper | Dec 18, 2015 |
This book is a collection of essays written by Israeli writer Keret covering the seven years beginning with the birth of his son and ending with the death of his father. I think I was expecting some meaningful and deep essays about life in Israel and what it means to be a Jew today. Instead, the book is for the most part a memoir of Keret's personal and professional life, frequently related in a "Dave Barry-ish" humorous way. Of course, since he is a Jew and an Israeli, these topics are touched upon, but for the most part not in any kind of depth. And since the essays collected in this issue were written over a period of years, and cover various topics, I didn't find that there was a clear unity in the book (often a problem for me with essay and short story collections).

All of this sounds very negative, but I actually liked the book. The essays that stood out for me included the first, "Suddenly, the Same Thing," in which Keret discusses the birth of his son, which occurred at the same time as a terrorist attack:

"I try to calm him down to convince him that there is nothing to worry about, that by the time he grows up, everything here in the Middle East will be settled: peace will come, there won't be any more terrorist attacks...." But, although his son is just a newborn, who are supposed to be naïve, "even he doesn't buy it."

3 stars ( )
1 vote arubabookwoman | Nov 29, 2015 |
A collection of autobiographical essays about the seven years between the birth of Etgar Keret’s son and the death of his father. I am a long-time fan of Keret's flash fiction because he manages to put such an infinite amount of emotion and characterization into a few pages that I find myself sometimes slightly breathless. These essays have elements of his fiction - most of them are "bigger on the inside" - but are not as fanciful, obviously, being technically non-fiction. Although I've read some of these essays before in various publications, the collection is very coherent and each essay is made better by its neighbor. Such a lovely, albeit bittersweet, book. The essays were written in Hebrew and translated into English, but the book itself has not been published in Israel in Hebrew - Keret says that it feels too personal. ( )
  -Eva- | Aug 13, 2015 |
I don't consider writers to be "Favorite Authors" until I've especially enjoyed at least two books by them. This is my second by Keret, and click! -- he's been Favorite-d.

My first was Suddenly, a Knock on the Door, his latest collection of flash fiction, which delighted me with surreal premises and imaginative twists. This book is a collection of 36 similarly short pieces, but here they're memoir-ish essays about the titular seven years between the birth of his son and the death of his father. They're not only poignantly optimistic, they're often outright funny.

His observations from Tel Aviv on family -- his Holocaust-survivor parents, adored older brother and ultra-orthodox sister; his lioness wife and wise, tender young son -- stun me with their guy-next-door universality. They remind me of other writers whose landscape is family. But those others don't have stories of family road trips interrupted by air-raid sirens and the need to stop and lie at the side of the road until the bomb explodes, all the while distracting the frightened son by recasting the situation, Life-Is-Beautiful-like, as a game of "pastrami sandwich" where the child is protected between the adults.

Plus, it's a treat to read Miranda July's Q&A with Keret in the opening pages. Considering they're two of the most unique writers I've encountered, I especially liked this from Keret:

The best trait I got from my mother is her confidence. Not the kind of confidence that makes you lead the rebels' attack on the death star, but [...] that your choices, no matter how strange and different they may be, are perfectly all right. [...T]hat all those people around me who gave me good advice on how to be better [at being myself] were to be taken seriously, while all those who were simply asking me to [change] were to be ignored.

I'm eager to read more of Keret's fiction, but now I yearn to read more of his memoir.

(Review based on an advance reading copy provided by the publisher.) ( )
1 vote DetailMuse | May 21, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Etgar Keretprimary authorall editionscalculated
Berris, AnthonyTranslator.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kehlmann, DanielTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Silverston, SandraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my mother
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"I just hate terrorist attacks," the thin nurse says to the older one.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
A brilliant, life-affirming, and hilarious memoir from a “genius” (The New York Times) and master storyteller. With illustrations by Jason Polan.

The seven years between the birth of Etgar Keret’s son and the death of his father were good years, though still full of reasons to worry. Lev is born in the midst of a terrorist attack. Etgar’s father gets cancer. The threat of constant war looms over their home and permeates daily life.

What emerges from this dark reality is a series of sublimely absurd ruminations on everything from Etgar’s three-year-old son’s impending military service to the terrorist mind-set behind Angry Birds. There’s Lev’s insistence that he is a cat, releasing him from any human responsibilities or rules. Etgar’s siblings, all very different people who have chosen radically divergent paths in life, come together after his father’s shivah to experience the grief and love that tie a family together forever. This wise, witty memoir—Etgar’s first nonfiction book published in America, and told in his inimitable style—is full of wonder and life and love, poignant insights, and irrepressible humor.
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