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“I’ve been looking at [Keret’s] Substack and it’s so witty and enjoyable, and he’s clearly having a wonderful time doing it, I thought, ‘maybe I could do that’” — Salman Rushdie, The Guardian

Languages

There’s nothing like a horrific war to make me miss my mom. Full disclosure: lots of things make me miss my mom. A mother singing a lullaby to her baby, Gene Kelly tap-dancing in the rain, a lion devouring an antelope, a loud politician being dragged out of parliament by security, a sad Jacques Brel song, eggs with mayonnaise, the crane-kick in Karate Kid—pretty much everything makes me miss my mom. But nothing quite as much as horrific wars. Because it was my mother who always made me feel safe, and because, as a Holocaust survivor, she taught me when I was a little kid not to take good things for granted and to always remember that reality can flip on you at any moment. I admit that part of me is glad she wasn’t here to witness the devastating events of October 7 and the ongoing war, but another part of me is sad that she’s not around to explain what exactly we’re supposed to do now and why the IDF Chief of Staff isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. It’s been four years since she died, but I seem to be missing her more and more. It’s a good thing I have stories, which make me feel as if she’s still with me.

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"Intention"

Deep in his heart, Yechiel-Nachman had made peace with his prayers going unanswered. Because prayer was the pure yearning for compassion and justice, whereas life was life: cruel, dispiriting, insulting. It was therefore only natural that two such contrasting worlds could never converge. But on October 7, 2023 – the 22nd day of Tishrei in the year 5784 – something in Yechiel-Nachman broke.

Photograph: Bumble Dee/Alamy

“What About Me?“

Written by Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen for “Short Stories on Human Rights“ (2008).

More films

Random quote

Smoking dope is illegal, but screaming at an Arab who ran over a little girl — that's not only legal, it's downright normative.

"One Gram Short"

More stories

Third Temple: Israel’s Occupation Is Coming Home

Netanyahu’s government is not here to debate—it’s here to rule, and any resistance is an intifada.

More non-fiction

Words Without Borders, 2010

I believe that there is a truth. I believe it is very difficult to articulate that truth. I try to go in that direction, but I don’t pretend I will get there.

More interviews

New York Times, 2012

For Keret, the creative impulse resides not in a conscious devotion to the classic armature of fiction (character, plot, theme, etc.) but in an allegiance to the anarchic instigations of the subconscious. His best stories display a kind of irrepressible dream logic

More reviews