The Girl on the Fridge: Stories - Etgar Keret I don't know how I discovered Etgar Keret but I've always been happy that I did. As I'm also in the midst of reading a couple of Chekhov collections, I think I can understand why I like Keret: He reminds me a great deal of Chekhov, and not just because most of their stories are very short. Both authors write in a style that, on the surface, is comedic, cynical and superficial but upon reflection reveals an insight and depth of empathy few writers can excel.

This is the weakest of the three Keret collections I've read - The Nimrod Flipout and The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God - but there are a number of good ones in this volume, and it's a collection of Keret's earlier work so (one could argue) reflects his growing maturity and skill as a writer.

My favorites are:

"Vacuum Seal" - reminded me of the first half of Kubrick's film "Full Metal Jacket," especially Vincent D'Onofrio's character

"The Real Winner of the Preliminary Games" - another story about the trauma inflicted by life and how people keep going, regardless

"One Hundred Percent" - a story about expecting too much from love

"Not Human Beings" - a story about how otherwise decent human beings can justify all sorts of atrocity

"Freeze" - reminiscent of the movie "The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything" but with a sharper edge

"Knockoff Venus" - a young man becomes disillusioned with his "Venus"

"The Summer of '76" - a story about a boy's idyllic life won by his grandfather's pain

Very few of the stories have real plots but Keret is often able to create memorable characters in only a few sentences. Highly recommended to anyone, especially Chekhov fans.