The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God, and Other Stories, by Etgar Keret

A collection of short short stories and a short novella, and Keret’s first English-language publication, this slim volume showcases the author’s simple, often almost childlike prose style, which both compliments and contrasts with his preoccupation with the darker aspects of humanity. Touching tales of childhood innocence sit alongside dark treatises on racism and religious intolerance, and Keret’s use of language and imagery ensure that the stories stay with the reader long after they have put the book down. Keret’s black sense of humour and keen eye for the strange and ridiculous bring comedy to every subject he writes about. His understanding of how humanity works makes even his most political and heartless characters human. His knack for putting familiar characters in new situations – like the cold-hearted, efficient assassin hired to kill the man who saved him from an orphanage – keep the reader guessing until the last page of every story. The novella, Kneller’s Happy Campers, takes as its subject a road trip through the afterlife for people who have committed suicide, and manages to be touching, thought-provoking and humourous.
Keret’s dark sense of humour, warped world view and keen eye for the absurdities of people may not be for everybody, but those who like their fiction short, thought-provoking and off the wall may find that The Bus Driver… is what they’re looking for.

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