Picks and Pans Review: The Nimrod Flip Out

UPDATED 04/10/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 04/10/2006 at 01:00 AM EDT

by Etgar Keret
REVIEWED BY KYLE SMITH

CRITIC'S CHOICE

SHORT STORIES

If the Brothers Grimm were alive and had expense accounts and girl troubles, they might write like Keret, whose freaky fables usually begin with a crazy idea and end with a sad beauty, all in the span of as little as two or three pages.

In this omnibus of weird, one guy gets rich because he's the most ordinary man in the world. Another fears that his faithful dog is from another planet and only came to Earth for the tax write-off. And a young dad-to-be sleeps with his head on his wife's tummy so that his unborn child will absorb his dreams. Which causes problems.

The jokes stumble into elegantly designed moments of truth; there are diamonds in Keret's banana peels. In "Glittery Eyes" a little girl wishes for eyes that sparkle. But the story's really about the boy in the background of her life: His eyes glitter with longing for her. An Israeli writer who isn't interested in politics or religion, Keret can do more with six strange and funny paragraphs than most writers can with 600 pages.

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