The successful short-short story, also called “flash fiction,” operates like an elite military commando team: get in, get out, take no prisoners. But how do you reduce a universe of meaning to something smaller than of a breadbox? Etgar Keret makes it look easy. In his previous collection, The Nimrod Flipout, and now with The Girl on the Fridge, the Israeli writer hits us with one flash-bang surprise after another. These little gems range far and wide across the human experience; and, while some are strange and off-kilter, Keret never leaves us with head-scratching bewilderment. The short-shorts take us to places we recognize but then throw us detours in the space of a single word. A soldier tyrannized by his sergeant literally seals himself into a protective cocoon; a bickering couple?s love is renewed with the assistance of Crazy Glue; and a magician?s hat tricks suddenly have gory finales (bunny lovers, avert your eyes). The Girl on the Fridge is 176 pages long and contains 46 stories — that should give some idea of how effectively Keret distills language. The opening story, “Asthma Attack,” clocks in at only 115 words but speaks volumes — not just about the subject of romance but about Keret?s way with words. It concludes with these lines: “When an asthmatic says ‘I love you,’ and when an asthmatic says ‘I love you madly,’ there’s a difference. The difference of a word. A word’s a lot. It could be stop, or inhaler. It could even be ambulance. ” Keret chooses his words carefully and always leaves us gasping for breath.
About the Author
David Abrams’ debut novel about the Iraq War, Fobbit, was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2012 and a Best Book of 2012 by Barnes and Noble. It was also featured as part of B&N's Discover Great New Writers program. His short stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and have appeared in Esquire, Narrative, Glimmer Train Stories, The Missouri Review, and many other places. He regularly blogs about the literary life at The Quivering Pen.