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The Girl on the Fridge: Stories by Etgar…
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The Girl on the Fridge: Stories

by Etgar Keret

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A collection of very short stories about topics such as all the city buses dying, the dream eating monster under the bed, a magician who suddenly has to drop the rabbit-out-of-the-hat trick from his act, whether one should trust an artist and if finding a copy of Gulliver's Travels in Iceland is a lucky thing. Nearly all the stories are surreal, lengths range from a few paragraphs to three or four pages, and the writing is original to the point of true oddness. I'm looking forward to reading more from Keret. ( )
  mstrust | Jan 29, 2014 |
I first saw Jellyfish, I think, which I liked a lot. Then I read Rutu Modan's Exit Wounds, which I liked. Somewhere in the back where there is an interview she mentioned Keret (and they have worked together before.) And then I saw $9.99, which I also liked, though not as much as Jellyfish. So I decided I should read something by Keret, and The Girl on the Fridge was the first book I could get my hands on. I suppose what I did not expect was the horror aspect of the stories. The rest was familiar from the films I had seen.

I kept thinking the stories reminded me of Gaiman's Sandman comics. Not the parts about Dream and his siblings (the Endless,) but the other parts, like the serial killers who meet up in a hotel, the girl who lives in the building with some bizarre characters, etc. So some horror, some mystery, some bizarre, and some political commentary. If Gaiman, Lynch, and Kafka got together and wrote a bunch of short stories that take place in Israel, this could very well be it.

With that said, Keret does have that home advantage. His stories are very much culturally infused with Israel, the conflict, the everyday urban life. Some stories can easily reproduce the horror of war and conflict, the meaningless struggle. There is always some violence, whether it be a kid being bullied aside from the main story, an Arab being run over for fun by Israeli border patrol, or a severed head of a bunny. Most lead characters are male (if not all?) and most of them are not in charge of the situation. Things happen to them, and usually they suffer. Children have a special place in some of the stories, and they seem to live in the middle of a disturbing life, unaware.

All in all, a pleasure to read, only if you like this kind of thing. If you enjoy the bizarre, the horrifying, the absurd, the surreal, you will enjoy these stories. ( )
  bluepigeon | Dec 15, 2013 |
recommended by: Rachel Donovan

Many readers seem to think this author is a genius and his stories are wonderful. Perhaps, but my opinion differs. They were not to my taste.

This book has 171 pages and there are 46 stories; they’re obviously very short. Thankfully, for me, they were short and the book was short.

As I read I had a sheet of paper handy with loved, liked a lot, and liked as categories, for writing down short stories that fit each one. The results?: none that I could wholeheartedly put on any of those lists, although there were many stories where I really liked parts of them and was able to appreciate the effort. Many of the story titles were intriguing so I was eager to try many of them.

I felt assaulted by many of the stories. I disliked many of these enough to hopefully block them out of my memory and (only partially tongue in cheek) I’m hoping my memory has faded sufficiently that I won’t have much to contribute to my book club discussion in three weeks. I do like dark and disturbing books, including books that share some of the themes of these stories; I just didn’t enjoy this book. The worst of it is these stories didn’t even depress me or evoke any emotion, but left me mostly unmoved.

If not for my book club I would have stopped reading very early on.

I’m not saying these have no redeeming value and I don’t like discouraging others from reading books, even if I’m not a fan, so I say read the reviews written by other Goodreads’ members! However, I am a fan of the short story form and have often appreciated short stories that are very short, but not these.

However, I am genuinely curious what my book club members think of this book and I’m eager to hear from those who enjoyed these stories in order to find out what they enjoyed about them.

What I’m perturbed about is I’ve been eager to get my average rating for my Goodreads read shelf books back up to 4.00 from 3.99 because I do actually “really like” almost all the books I read. My uncharacteristic star rating of this book will significantly delay that shift. ( )
1 vote Lisa2013 | Apr 17, 2013 |
I liked this one, but not as much as The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God, I think. As a whole, this collection was less twisted, if equally dark. Favorite stories were "Asthma Attack" and "Sidewalks". Keret is entertaining in person, too: he did a reading at Housing Works last week. ( )
  JennyArch | Apr 3, 2013 |
I was really expecting to like this book better than I did. My previous (and first) Keret book was The Nimrod Flip-out which I liked much better. The story I liked the best in The Girl on the Fridge was "Super Glue" which tells about odd uses for superglue. I found "Loquat" a fun read as well. This short story was about a soldier whose grandmother commanded him to get annoying neighborhood kids out of their loquat tree. I found the other stories in this collection much too dark and disturbing. I do like the author's bizarre way of telling a story and looking at snippets of Israeli life, though. I will definitely read more books by Keret, but hope that some of the stories in future collections that I read will be lighter and more fun. ( )
  SqueakyChu | Jan 3, 2009 |
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When you have an asthma attack, you can't breathe.
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