Suddenly, a Knock on the Door


Etgar Keret; Translated from the Hebrew by Miriam Shlesinger, Sondra Silverston, and Nathan Englander; Music composed by Christopher Bowen

Macmillan Audio

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Bringing up a child, lying to the boss, placing an order in a fast-food restaurant: in Etgar Keret’s new collection, daily life is complicated, dangerous, and full of yearning. In his most playful and most mature work yet, the living and the dead, silent children and talking animals, dreams and waking life coexist in an uneasy world. Overflowing with absurdity, humor, sadness, and compassion, the tales in Suddenly, a Knock on the Door establish Etgar Keret—declared a “genius” by The New York Times—as one of the most original writers of his generation.

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Suddenly, a Knock at the Door
SUDDENLY, A KNOCK ON THE DOOR"Tell me a story," the bearded man sitting on my living-room sofa commands. The situation, I must say, is anything but pleasant. I'm someone who writes stories, not someone who tells them. And even that isn't something I do on demand. The last time anyone asked me to tell him a story, it was my son. That was a year ago. I told him something about a fairy and a ferret--I don't even remember what exactly--and within two minutes he was fast asleep. But the situation is fundamentally different.

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Watch and Listen

Etgar Keret Gets Streetwise

Forward managing editor Dan Friedman takes a walk with Etgar Keret.

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Ira Glass reads "Suddenly, a Knock on the Door"

NPR's Ira Glass reads a short story from Keret's newest collection.

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Praise for Suddenly, a Knock on the Door

“I feel that the best thing that can happen to a writer is for someone to interpret your text. It is a great experience, listening to your words.” – Etgar Keret

“An all-star roster of narrators masterfully performs the audio edition of Keret’s latest collection, which mixes humor, emotion, absurdity, morality, and humility…the result is a truly inspired series of performances and an utterly entertaining audiobook. Listening quickly becomes a compulsion.” – Publishers Weekly

“Examples of the talented narrators include Josh Charles, who has a deep, round tone and a gentle manner that perfectly complements the author’s words, and Adam Thirlwell’s British accent, which supports a strong, robust reading about lying. It’s an excellent audio and literary experience.” – AudioFile Magazine

“Keret’s greatest book yet—the most funny, dark, and poignant. It’s tempting to say these stories are his most Kafkaesque, but in fact they are his most Keretesque.” —Jonathan Safran Foer

“Etgar Keret’s stories are funny, with tons of feeling, driving towards destinations you never see coming. They’re written in the most unpretentious, chatty voice possible, but they’re also weirdly poetic. They stick in your gut. You think about them for days. “ —Ira Glass, host and producer of This American Life

“Strangeness abounds. Keret fits so much psychological and social complexity and metaphysical mystery into these quick, wry, jolting, funny, off-handedly fabulist miniatures, they’re like literary magic tricks: no matter how closely you read, you can’t figure out how he does it.” —Donna Seaman, Booklist (March 15)

“His pieces elicit comparison to sources as diverse as Franz Kafka, Kurt Vonnegut and Woody Allen . . . [Keret is] a writer who is often very funny and inventive, and occasionally profound.” —Kirkus Reviews (March 15)

“Israeli author Keret writes sometimes appealingly wacky, sometimes darkly absurdist stories that translate well to America . . . Sophisticated readers should check this out.” —Library Journal, pre-pub alert

“In this slim volume of flash fiction and short stories, Israeli author/filmmaker Keret (The Nimrod Flipout; the film Jellyfish) writes with alternating Singeresque magical realism and Kafkaesque absurdity.” —Publishers Weekly

“This collection of short stories brims with invention . . . Etgar Keret is a great short story writer whose work is all the greater because it’s funny . . . [He] most becomes himself in comedy shorts, telling tales of the absurd and the surreal . . . As one of the 20th century’s great comic writers—and one of Keret’s true precursors—might have said, so it goes . . . To complain about Keret being Keret is like complaining about Chekhov being Chekhov.” —Ian Sansom, The Guardian

“[Keret] deserves full marks for chutzpah . . . His work zings with imaginative conceits, clever asides and self-conscious twists. Yet there is also an easygoing quality to his writing that makes the 37 stories collected here instantly likeable . . . his stories assume an anecdotal style that gives them an air of spontaneity, as if he were relating them over a cup of coffee in one of the Tel Aviv cafes frequented by his characters . . . Keret’s willingness to develop quirky concepts (one story features a magic, talking goldfish) would seem to grant him a place alongside such idiosyncratic writers as Robert Walser, Franz Kafka, Kurt Vonnegut and Italo Calvino. But if his work is sometimes reminiscent of these writers, it also carves out its own territory.” —James Ley, The Sydney Morning Herald

“A brilliant writer . . . completely unlike any writer I know. The voice of the next generation.” —Salman Rushdie

“Keret can do more with six . . .paragraphs than most writers can with 600 pages.” —Kyle Smith, People

In the Press

Work in Progress » Blog Archive » Willem Dafoe, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Shalom Auslander Read Etgar Keret
There's something about Etgar Keret's short stories that sound great when read aloud. Fortunately for us, a few of his notable friends have volunteered to read pieces from his latest collection, Suddenly, A Knock on the Door. You can also read Keret's story "Mystique" along with Willem Dafoe, should you so choose.
- FSG's Work in Progress

In Warsaw, a Creative Home Fills a Void -
At just four feet across at its widest, and a mere 28 inches at its narrowest point, the Keret House in Poland may be the world’s thinnest home.
- The New York Times

‘Suddenly, a Knock on the Door,’ by Etgar Keret -
Etgar Keret’s stories highlight humor, bizarre twists and characters in the midst of psychic upheaval.
- The New York Times

'Suddenly, a Knock On the Door' by Etgar Keret: Book review -
Book review: Etgar Keret goes from one extreme to another in the wonderfully absurdist short-story collection 'Suddenly, a Knock On the Door.'
- Los Angeles Times

'Suddenly': Surreal Stories From A Modern Master : NPR
A killer is doomed to live out the afterlife as Pooh Bear. A magical goldfish grants wishes, and disgruntled divorced dads abound. Welcome to the absurd and very tender world of Suddenly, a Knock on the Door, the new story collection by Israeli writer Etgar Keret.

New story collections by Melissa Pritchard, Rajesh Parameswaran and Etgar Keret - The Washington Post
Wonderfully strange new story collections by Melissa Pritchard, Rajesh Parameswaran and Etgar Keret.
- The Washington Post

Etgar Keret makes 'Suddenly, a Knock on the Door' a cross between Aesop and George Carlin |
Over and over, Keret's characters create stories to deal with the unstable ground their lives are built on, and to do so, they fall deeper into more complicated deceptions.
- Cleveland Plain Dealer

Israeli Author Etgar Keret's New Short Story Collection - The Daily Beast
Israeli author Etgar Keret turns a dry spell into gold.
- Newsweek

Wry, Coy Looks at Modern Israeli Life in Etgar Keret’s ‘Suddenly, A Knock on the Door’ – Tablet Magazine
Etgar Keret’s Chaos Theory: Suddenly, A Knock on the Door, the acclaimed Israeli writer’s new story collection, offers wry, coy looks at the paradoxes of life in the Jewish state
- Tablet

A Mustache for My Son -
I honored my son’s birthday request to “do something special” with my face, and learned just how freighted facial hair can be.
- The New York Times Magazine

Etgar Keret: What Happens Next - The Barnes & Noble Review
Listeners of public radio's This American Life have endured no shortage of the breezy yet fully imagined vignettes of Israeli life written and read by Etgar Keret, but long-suffering readers have had to wait four years for his latest collection
- B&N Review

Omnivoracious: "Suddenly, a Knock on the Door": Ira Glass Reads a Story by Etgar Keret
There are authors who cut their milk teeth on short stories, and there are authors who dedicate themselves to the form with Buddha-like focus. Israeli writer Etgar Keret—nerds of a certain ilk will recognize his name from This American Life...
- Omnivoracious

Reviews from Goodreads


About the Author

Etgar Keret; Translated from the Hebrew by Miriam Shlesinger, Sondra Silverston, and Nathan Englander; Music composed by Christopher Bowen

Born in Tel Aviv in 1967, Etgar Keret is the author of six bestselling story collections. His writing has been published in Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times, The Paris Review, and Zoetrope. Jellyfish, his first movie as a director along with his wife, Shira Geffen, won the Camera d’Or prize for best first feature at Cannes in 2007. In 2010 he was named a Chevalier of France’s Order of Arts and Letters.

Etgar Keret

© Yanai Yechiel
Etgar Keret


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Available Formats and Book Details

Suddenly, a Knock on the Door
Etgar Keret; Translated from the Hebrew by Miriam Shlesinger, Sondra Silverston, and Nathan Englander; Music composed by Christopher Bowen


Audie Award Finalist, Warwick Prize for Writing Shortlist

Unabridged Compact Disc

Unabridged  Compact Disc
Macmillan Audio
April 2012
Unabridged Compact Disc
ISBN: 9781427226945
ISBN10: 1427226946
Audio Run Time: 6:00

Unabridged Digital Audio

Unabridged  Digital Audio
Macmillan Audio
April 2012
Unabridged Digital Audio
ISBN: 9781427222527
ISBN10: 1427222525
Audio Run Time: 6:00

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
FSG Originals
March 2012
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780374533335
ISBN10: 0374533334
5 x 7 1/2 inches, 208 pages

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
FSG Originals
March 2012
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466816206
ISBN10: 1466816201
5 x 7 1/2 inches, 208 pages

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Macmillan Audio

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