I’m thrilled that our new story is by the Israeli writer Etgar Keret. Contributing Editor Pei-Ling Lue will be doing the official introductions for this issue, but I wanted to give a quick plug to an upcoming Selected Shorts with Etgar Keret & Jonathan Safran Foer on April 6th in NYC. Come join us! In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful new story.-HT
Our latest issue, “Surprise Party,” was written by Etgar Keret, one of Israel’s most popular writers, best known in our country for his collections of short stories, The Nimrod Flipout and The Girl on the Fridge. His book, Missing Kissinger, was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. We were honored that Etgar, who is known mostly for his very short and powerful flash fiction pieces, wanted to publish this longer story with One Story. We were also very excited to publish another story in translation (our last was “The Snake Charmer”–Issue #48).
I’m sure that many of us have experienced an evening that started out with a group of near-strangers who, by the end of the night, had transformed our lives. That’s what happens in this story when a wife throws her husband a surprise birthday party, which starts out awkwardly when the guest of honor doesn’t show up, and spirals more and more out of control as the night progresses.
I learned so much about writing working with Etgar. I was in a bit of awe at how meticulously he constructs the structure of his stories, the way he navigates the emotional pitch of his characters, and the whimsy in which he chooses to keep some aspects of the story a secret from the reader (he continually refused to tell me whatever happened to Band-Aid’s nose and why he wears a Band-Aid). You can read more about Etgar’s writing process in his Q&A where he explains more about how he wrote this story.