Etgar Keret, author of Suddenly, A Knock On The Door, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

by |February 1, 2012

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Etgar Keret

author of Suddenly, A Knock On The Door and more…

Ten Terrifying Questions


1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Ramat Gan in 1967 and moved to Tel-Aviv after I finished my compulsory army service. I studied Math and Philosophy in TAU .

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

When I was twelve I wanted to be an astronaut.

When I was eighteen I wanted to finish my army service in one piece.

When I was thirty I just wanted to write.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

That there is somebody out there who knows what’s going on.

4. What were three works of art – book or painting or piece of music, etc – you can now say, had a great effect on you and influenced your own development as a writer?

Kafka’s short stories, Terry Gilliam’s movie Brazil and Breaking Bad.

5. Considering the innumerable artistic avenues open to you, why did you choose to write a novel?

I never wrote a novel but did almost everything else: I’ve written screenplays, directed films, written a play, written for comic books and written lyrics for songs.

6. Please tell us about your latest book…

It’s a collection of short stories. The first one I’ve had since I’ve had my first child. I think it is my best work so far.

(BBGuru: Read  a review of  Suddenly, a Knock on the Door by Booktopia BUZZ editor-in-chief  Toni Whitmont

…and here is the publisher’s blurb –

From the critically acclaimed master short-story teller Etgar Keret, his long-awaited and biggest selling collection – the first in nearly ten years.

Hilarious, witty and always unusual, declared a ‘genius’ by the New York Times, Keret brings all of his prodigious talent to bear in this, his sixth bestselling collection. Long a household name in Israel, where he has been declared the voice of his generation, Keret has been acknowledged as one of the country’s most radical and extraordinary writers.

Exuding a rare combination of depth and accessibility, Keret’s tales overflow with absurdity, humour, longing and compassion, and though their circumstances are often strange and surreal, his characters are defined by a familiar and fierce humanity.

  • A man barges into a writer’s house and, holding a gun to his head, demands that he tell him a story, something to take him away from the real world.
  • A pathological liar discovers one day that all the lies he tells come true.
  • A young woman finds a zip in her boyfriend’s mouth, and when she opens it he unfolds to reveal a completely different man inside.

SUDDENLY, A KNOCK ON THE DOOR is at once Keret’s most mature and most playful work yet, and establishes him as one of the great global writers of our time.)

Click here to buy Suddenly, A Knock on the Door from Booktopia, Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

7. What do you hope people take away with them after reading your work?

That being human isn’t easy but that it is still something they should recommend to their friends and family.

8. Whom do you most admire in the realm of writing and why?

There are too many to name but for Kafka, Babel and Vonnegut are three of my all time favourites.

9. Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

I’m not good at goals. I usually notice that I work on a project a couple of weeks before I end it.

10. What advice do you give aspiring writers?

Be yourselves when you write. You’re all the world champions at being yourselves.

Etgar, thank you for playing.

Click here to buy Suddenly, A Knock on the Door from Booktopia, Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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