Jewish Festival of the Book Features Etgar Keret

by ekramer on October 25, 2008

An author that Salman Rushdie calls a “voice of the next generation” is in Louisville tomorrow . WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

Israeli author Etgar Keret will kick off the Jewish Community Center’s Jewish Festival of the Book.

Keret’s sparse prose has been translated into more than 20 languages and mixes comic and tragic elements. It has been compared to work by writer Franz Kafka.

Keret says many people like to talk to him about his story “The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God.” It’s about a driver who would never open the door for late riders, not because he was mean — but because of his ideology.

“Many people that I met here said that they knew him and that he works in Portland or in Arizona or in Denver,” Keret says. “They say, ‘Hey, I know that guy.'”

Keret also has written, graphic novels and other books with titles like “The Nimrod Flip-Out.”  He’s taught at several universities in the United States.

While his rapidly paced short stories combine tragedy and humor, Keret says he doesn’t set out with the intention to mix the two.

“When I write a story, I don’t want it to be neither funny nor sad,” he says. “I just want it to be true. And I guess what makes this truth is that mixture.”

Keret will read and give his talk at the Congregation Adath Jeshurun.

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