The Girl on the Fridge

The successful short-short story, also called "flash fiction," operates like an elite military commando team: get in, get out, take no prisoners. But how do you reduce a universe of meaning to something smaller than of a breadbox? Etgar Keret makes it look easy. In his previous collection, The Nimrod Flipout, and now with The Girl on the Fridge, the Israeli writer hits us with one flash-bang surprise after another. These little gems range far and wide across the human experience; and, while some are strange and off-kilter, Keret never leaves us with head-scratching bewilderment. The short-shorts take us to places we recognize but then throw us detours in the space of a single word. A soldier tyrannized by his sergeant literally seals himself into a protective cocoon; a bickering couple?s love is renewed with the assistance of Crazy Glue; and a magician?s hat tricks suddenly have gory finales (bunny lovers, avert your eyes). The Girl on the Fridge is 176 pages long and contains 46 stories -- that should give some idea of how effectively Keret distills language. The opening story, "Asthma Attack," clocks in at only 115 words but speaks volumes -- not just about the subject of romance but about Keret?s way with words. It concludes with these lines: "When an asthmatic says 'I love you,' and when an asthmatic says 'I love you madly,' there's a difference. The difference of a word. A word's a lot. It could be stop, or inhaler. It could even be ambulance. " Keret chooses his words carefully and always leaves us gasping for breath.

July 26: On this day in 1602 "A booke called the Revenge of Hamlett Prince Denmarke" was entered in the Stationers' Register by printer James Robertes.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).