Author Interviews

Writer Etgar Keret, Fighting to Be 'Normal'

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Listen: Professor Yaron Peleg reads from his translation of an Etgar Keret short story not yet published in English.

Etgar Keret

Etgar Keret's short stories often describe encounters between people with cultural differences, but he discounts the notion that his fiction is meant to be political. St. Martin's Press hide caption

toggle caption St. Martin's Press

Etgar Keret is often called Israel's hippest young writer. His deadpan descriptions of life among ordinary people — often young people — offer a window on a surreal world that is at once funny and sad.

People often read the stories — such as one about a homeless man who threatens to shoot himself if he's not given money for a cup of coffee — as parables about conflicts between different segments of society in the Middle East. That impression was strengthened by the publication in Britain of Gaza Blues. Keret wrote the book with London-based Palestinian author Samir el-Youssef.

But Keret tells NPR's Neda Ulaby that he and other Israeli writers of his generation have a less political goal in mind:

"We want to fight for the ability to be normal," he says. "We want to fight for the ability to talk about what's private. To talk about emotions... and not our emotions in the national context."

Keret's second collection of stories, The Nimrod Flipout, will be published in the United States in the spring.

Books Featured In This Story

Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God

by Etgar Keret

Paperback, 196 pages |


Purchase Featured Book

Bus Driver Who Wanted To Be God
Etgar Keret

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from