As I have mentioned before, the throughly nice, thoroughly talented flash fiction author Nik Perring is a massive fan of Etgar Keret and it is his recommendation that lead me to pickup Keret’s ‘Four Stories’ collection recently. I was impressed enough with what I read there to slap down some more money for Keret’s 2004 collection. ‘The Nimrod Flipout’ contains 32 stories of varying lengths and I have to admit, was ideal reading for the first few weeks with our new baby Hanna. Reading time has been thin on the ground, so a collection of (largely) flash fiction slotted in nicely without demanding too much time to ensure I stayed on track with the challenge.
With such a large number of stories within its covers, it should be no surprise that I found some more enjoyable than others. Many of Keret’s tales feature wonderfully imaginative ideas and it just such stories that are my favourites. ‘Pride and Joy’ with the delightful conceit of parents shrinking as their child grows is a sparky, touching look at how parents give of themselves so their children can flourish and is easily the best thing of Keret’s I have read. ‘Bottle,’ ‘Fatso,’ ‘Second Chance,’ ‘Your Man,’ and ‘For only 9.99 (Inc. Tax and Postage)’ all benefit from a similar playfulness with realism.
I enjoyed every story in this collection, while about half of them stood out as truly exceptional. Etgar Keret is hailed as a major force in this particular genre and ‘The Nimrod Flipout’ shows quite clearly why; each of the stories here have something to show writers about how to tackle the flash fiction/short short fiction form. A great read and a writer I will be returning to soon.