The Nimrod Flipout
  • The Nimrod Flipout
  • The Nimrod Flipout

The Nimrod Flipout

4.0 8
by Etgar Keret

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From Israel's most popular and acclaimed young writer--"Stories that are short, strange, funny, deceptively casual in tone and affect, stories that sound like a joke but aren't" (Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi)

Already featured on This American Life and Selected Shorts and in Zoetrope: All Story and L.A. Weekly,

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From Israel's most popular and acclaimed young writer--"Stories that are short, strange, funny, deceptively casual in tone and affect, stories that sound like a joke but aren't" (Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi)

Already featured on This American Life and Selected Shorts and in Zoetrope: All Story and L.A. Weekly, these short stories include a man who finds equal pleasure in his beautiful girlfriend and the fat, soccer-loving lout she turns into after dark; shrinking parents; a case of impotence cured by a pet terrier; and a pessimistic Middle Eastern talking fish. A bestseller in Israel, The Nimrod Flipout is an extraordinary collection from the preeminent Israeli writer of his generation.

Editorial Reviews

Clive James
His enchantingly witty stories suggest that a keen intelligence can still flourish even when the air is full of flying metal ... Our best chance is that Etgar Keret will become a craze, a craze for sanity.
The best work of literature to come out of Israel in the last five thousand years—better than Leviticus and nearly as funny. Each page is a cut and polished gem. Do yourself a favor, walk over to the counter and buy this book now.
Yann Martel
Stories that are short, strange, funny, deceptively casual in tone and effect, stories that sound like a joke but aren't—Etgar Keret is a writer to be taken seriously.
Newsweek Kevin Peraino
Keret's short stories are filled with antiheroes. There are no brave Maccabees, no swashbuckling warriors. Instead, his sketches dramatize the mundane details of daily life. "When you wake up in the morning," he says, "before you've had your first cup of coffee, what you think about is not, Why isn't there a Palestinian state? You say, 'Why doesn't my girlfriend love me?' Or 'I hope somebody didn't steal my car.' "

Stories can be dreams, of a sort, and Keret's seem to promise that there is more to life than Merkava tanks and suicide killers, more even than nanotech or IPOs. His quirky collections—which have sold more than 200,000 copies in Israel—offer a glimpse into the Israeli subconscious. They satisfy jumbled, humble hopes—not the high-blown fantasies of the original frontiersmen.

author of A Tale of Love and Darkness Amos Oz
Etgar Keret's short stories are fierce, funny, full of energy and insight, and at the same time they are often deep, tragic, and very moving.
author of Cryptonomicon Neal Stephenson
To try to describe Keret's work in fewer words than the work itself is a project perverse, paradoxical, modern, and strange—in short, it is like an Etgar Keret story, except not as funny and not as interesting. So I ask you to open the book and read.
The Independent Linda Grant
Etgar Keret is the voice of young Israel . . . [His] stories still seemed to deal with all the important things, friendship, sadness, fear . . . Unlike anything else the country [is] producing.
Publishers Weekly
Keret, an Israeli writer who also writes children's books and collaborates with illustrators on graphic stories and novels, specializes in brainteasing short short stories reminiscent of the "Shouts and Murmurs" section of the New Yorker-30 are packed in this thin volume. A typical Keret situation is enacted in "Your Man": the narrator finds that his girlfriends inexplicably break up with him in the back of taxicabs while the radio always announces a caller from a certain address. He goes to the address, finds photos of his exes tacked to the wall and erupts in violence, with repercussions that give new meaning to masochism. Dogs play a role in Keret's stories similar to the sly role they assume in Thurber cartoons, hovering between the fantastic and the everyday, and sex is an obsession ("Actually, I've Had Some Phenomenal Hardons Lately" is one story's title.) In "Fatso," a man's girlfriend confides a secret: she turns into a rotund male at night. Like French surrealist Marcel Aym , Keret keeps his stories one dimensional, but it's a dimension he has mastered, one that peels away the borderlines of normalcy. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A kaleidoscopic assortment of exact, affecting and richly comic stories from the bestselling Israeli author (The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God, 2001, etc.). Many of the 30 stories in this collection are almost brief enough-and resonant enough-to qualify as poems. "Dirt" opens as a comic riff, with the narrator imagining starting a chain of laundromats, then becomes a sweet, elegant meditation on love. In "Eight Percent of Nothing," an apartment broker is unexpectedly roped into learning about the breakdown of a marriage. "Fatso" manages to turn its ridiculous setup-a man discovers that his girlfriend transforms into a crass, burly soccer fan after dark-into sharp commentary on identity and male bonding. None of those three tales exceeds ten pages in length, and brevity is their crucial element. Keret attaches a great deal of weight to what's said in a story's closing sentences, which is a risky tactic if he has broader ambitions; he's yet to publish a full-length novel, and it's easy to see how one might be unsuccessful. But here he's in full command of his powers, capable of tackling his chief concerns-sex, youth, family, romantic attachments and detachments-from a variety of angles. That's true even when he does crack ten pages: In the title story, three friends are haunted by the ghost of a dead buddy, and Keret precisely renders the emotional relationship between each of the men, earning the story's beautifully tragicomic kicker. He's not perfect: "The Tits of an Eighteen-Year-Old" is an obvious commentary about male boorishness, and "More Life" is a limp fable about infidelity. But unlike many short-story writers, Keret doesn't drown his weaker ideas in puffed-up pages ofworkshopped prose-he keeps his observations raw, confident and direct. A funny and keen chronicler of human foibles, perfecting his craft.

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Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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5.50(w) x 8.29(h) x 0.54(d)

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Surprised? Of course I was surprised. You go out with a girl. First date, second date, a restaurant here, a movie there, always just matinees. You start sleeping together, the sex is mind-blowing, and pretty soon there’s feeling too. And then, one day, she shows up in tears, and you hug her and tell her to take it easy, everything’s going to be OK, and she says she can’t stand it anymore, she has this secret, not just a secret, something really awful, a curse, something she’s been wanting to tell you from the beginning but she didn’t have the guts. This thing, it’s been weighing her down, and now she’s got to tell you, she’s simply got to, but she knows that as soon as she does, you’ll leave her, and you’ll be absolutely right to leave her, too. And then she starts crying all over again.

I won’t leave you, you tell her. I won’t. I love you. You try to look concerned, but you’re not. Not really. Or rather, if you are concerned, it’s about her crying, not about her secret. You know by now that these secrets that always make a woman fall to pieces are usually something along the lines of doing it with an animal, or a Mormon, or with someone who paid her for it. I’m a whore, they always wind up saying. And you hug them and say, no you’re not. You’re not. And if they don’t stop crying all you can do is say shhh. It’s something really terrible, she insists, as if she’s picked up on how nonchalant you are about it, even though you’ve tried to hide it. In the pit of your stomach it may sound terrible, you tell her, but that’s just acoustics. As soon as you let it out it won’t seem anywhere near as bad—you’ll see. And she almost believes you. She hesitates and then she asks: What if I told you that at night I turn into a heavy, hairy man, with no neck, with a gold ring on his pinkie, would you still love me? And you tell her of course you would. What else can you say? That you wouldn’t? She’s just trying to test you, to see whether you love her unconditionally—and you’ve always been a winner at tests. In fact, as soon as you say it, she melts, and you do it, right there in the living room. And afterward, you lie there holding each other tight, and she cries because she’s so relieved, and you cry too. Go figure. And unlike all the other times, she doesn’t get up and go. She stays there and falls asleep. And you lie awake, looking at her beautiful body, at the sunset outside, at the moon appearing as if out of nowhere, at the silvery light flickering over her body, stroking the hair on her back. And within five minutes you find yourself lying next to this guy—this short fat guy. And the guy gets up and smiles at you, and awkwardly gets dressed. He leaves the room and you follow him, spellbound. He’s in the den now, his thick fingers fiddling with the remote, zapping to the sports channels. Championship soccer. When they miss a pass, he curses the TV; when they score, he gets up and does a little victory dance.

After the game he tells you that his throat is dry and his stomach is growling. He could really use a beer and a big steak. Welldone if possible, and with lots of onion rings, but he’d settle for pork chops. So you get in the car and take him to this restaurant that he knows about. This new twist has you worried, it really does, but you have no idea what you should do. Your command-and-control centers are down. You shift gears at the exit, in a daze. He’s right there beside you in the passenger seat, tapping that gold-ringed pinkie of his. At the next intersection, he rolls down his window, winks at you, and yells at a girl who’s trying to thumb a ride: Hey, baby, wanna play nanny goat and ride in the back? Later, the two of you pack in the steak and the chops and the onion rings till you’re about to explode, and he enjoys every bite, and laughs like a baby. And all that time you keep telling yourself it’s got to be a dream. A bizarre dream, yes, but definitely one that you’ll snap out of any minute.

On the way back, you ask him where he’d like you to drop him off, and he pretends not to hear you, but he looks despondent. So you wind up taking him home. It’s almost three a.m. I’m hitting the sack, you tell him, and he waves his hand, and stays in the beanbag chair, staring at the fashion channel. You wake up the next morning, exhausted, and your stomach hurts. And there she is, in the living room, still dozing. But by the time you’ve had your shower, she’s up. She gives you a sheepish hug, and you’re too embarrassed to say anything. Time goes by and you’re still together. The sex just gets better and better. She’s not so young anymore, and neither are you, and suddenly you find yourselves talking about a baby. And at night, you and fatso hit the town like you’ve never done in your life. He takes you to restaurants and bars you didn’t even know existed, and you dance on the tables together, and break plates like there’s no tomorrow. He’s really nice, the fatso, a little crass, especially with women; sometimes the things he comes out with make you want to sink into the floor. Other than that, he’s lots of fun. When you first met him, you didn’t give a damn about soccer, but now you know every team. And whenever one of your favorites wins, you feel like you’ve made a wish and it’s come true. Which is a pretty exceptional feeling for someone like you, who hardly knows what he wants most of the time. And so it goes: every night you fall asleep with him struggling to stay awake for the Argentinean finals, and in the morning there she is, the beautiful, forgiving woman who you love, too, till it hurts.

THE NIMROD FLIPOUT Copyright © 2002, 2006 by Etgar Keret

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