Translators are like ninjas. If you notice them, they’re no good.— Etgar Keret
The most valuable Etgar Keret quotes you will be delighted to read
My father - I once asked him what was his greatest achievement.
He said his greatest achievement was that he fought in five wars in the infantry, always on the front line, and never hurt anybody.
It's kind of a reflex for me to ignore my own wishes and think about other people first.
If you want to learn how to be happy, you have to know what is sadness first.
I think the typical way is that usually Holocaust survivors are known to be very quiet and full of anxiety, many of them don't like life, don't trust people. But my parents were children during the Holocaust. And my father was very optimistic.
Rabbits are played. Nowadays it's all about the turtles. Tell them it's a ninja, they'll freak.
When I write, I never know the endings.
What I think works in [my] stories is the fact that when I write, I really want to find out what is going on-I'm writing for myself as a reader. It's like when you dream a dream. I want to know what's behind the door. If I navigate, it's from a place that's totally intuitive.
Maybe in the general scheme of things he couldn't find any meaning in life, but on a smaller scale it was okay. Not always, but a lot of the time.
As the son of Holocaust survivors, this is life - you're put in a corner, and you have to get out. I believe that you can always get out.
My stories are very compact. I want them to say the most complex things in the simplest way.
Being ambivalent doesn't mean that you're a relevatist, that anything goes;
it just means that you show the complexity of life. Life is always complex.
His whole body was completely still, except the wings, which were still fluttering a little, like when someone dies. That's when he finally understood that of all the things the angel had told him, nothing was true. That he wasn't even an angel, just a liar with wings.
Nobody else in the world would look at writing as craftsmanship - it's totally this Protestant hardworking ethic. You go into this kind of infinite space of imagination and you fence yourself in with all kinds of laws.
The moment that you have a child - that you know that when he'll turn 18, he'll join the Army and go there for three years of compulsory service - then you can't help yourself of thinking about the future - speculating about it, dreading it or even being - trying to be more active to change it and improve it.
It's amazing how people can sound like retards when they're talking to their girlfriend, especially if they really love her a lot. Because when you're just fucking someone you make a point of keeping your cool, but when you're really in love - it can sound pretty repulsive.
I see creative-writing classes as some sort of AA meeting.
It is more of a support group for people who write than an actual course in which you learn writing skills. This support group is extremely important because there is something very lonely about writing.
He misses the feeling of creating something out of something.
That’s right — something out of something. Because something out of nothing is when you make something up out of thin air, in which case it has no value. Anybody can do that. But something out of something means it was really there the whole time, inside you, and you discover it as part of something new, that’s never happened before.
I really believe hatred is not a primal emotion, in that you can't find it in nature. It's basically some kind of distortion of fear.
Etgar means "challenge." And my family name is Keret, which means "urban." So my name is "urban challenge." My joke is, it's a good description of a birth but a strange name for a human being.
When I started writing my stories, I thought that not only nobody outside my language, but nobody outside my neighbourhood would get them.
For my mother, having a family was the most important thing in her life.
In the Second World War, it was a challenge - surviving physically and mentally and finding somebody who you loved and who was willing to be with you.
I'm not saying that I don't experience people in life as evil, but writing is not a place of alienation; writing is the place where we can try to be human.
I think there are some artists whose works are misanthropic.
In Israel, the role of the writer is dictated by the language in which you write. Writers see themselves as cultural prophets.
I think that, in Israel, the greatest fear that people have, and I have it, too, is fear of genocide.
You don't need to use the language of God to ask where the restrooms are.
If someone gives you a piece of advice that sounds right and feels right, use it. If someone gives you a piece of advice that sounds right and feels wrong, don’t waste so much as a single second on it. It may be fine for someone else, but not for you.
I remember a point in [writing] the story where I said, "This isn't working, I should go and buy something at the supermarket or my wife will kill me." Then I said, "No, I'll go on."
In the army you feel violated - there's no private space.
Writing was a life-saver, a way of recovering private territory.
Often in writing programs, articulation and clarity are more important than what you actually say.
For three months, a person sits and looks at you, imagining a kiss.
In my stories I can kiss the girls I want to kiss and punch the girls I want to punch. Nobody pays a price for it.
I always have a story in my head that needs to be written, or at least I think I do. But I usually can't find the time to write it.
My mother, for example, told the German officer not to kill her.
She'd make it worth his while. And then, when they were doing it, she pulled a knife out of her belt and sliced open his chest, just like she used to open chicken breasts to stuff with rice for the Sabbath meal.
All my writing-life people kept telling me that I should stop writing short stories and start writing novels: my agent, my Israeli publisher, my foreign ones, my bank manager - they all felt and keep feeling that I'm doing something wrong here.
I've always had a very developed superego.
I also had a very powerful id, but there was no ego in the middle. So writing was always like letters sent from the id to the superego, saying, "What's going on here?" What I loved about writing was that I was totally weightless. I was amazed at the fact that I could be myself without being afraid that anyone would get hurt.
Apparently, I'm very, very popular in jails. They often ask me to come and speak.
I write in a slangy colloquial speech that has not been common in the Israeli tradition of writing, and that is one of the things that gets lost a little in translation.
The fact is that everything I have in my pockets is carefully chosen so I’ll always be prepared. Everything is there so I can be at an advantage at the moment of truth. Actually, that’s not accurate. Everything’s there so I won’t be at a disadvantage at the moment of truth.
Writing a story is kind of like surfing, as opposed to the novel, where you use a GPS to get somewhere. With surfing, you kind of jump.
I write what needs to be written the way that seems genuinely right.
If what comes out of it are stories, then it is my vocation to believe in them and in the fact that they'll interest people and maybe affect their lives.
Sometimes the stories are smarter than me, and suddenly these things start to make sense.
According to Gur's theory of boredom, everything that happens in the world today is because of boredom: love, war, inventions, fake fireplaces - ninety-five percent of all that is pure boredom.
People usually don't allow you to cut off their tongue.
I tried once in my life to write a novel.
I had written something like 80 pages of it when my laptop got stolen. When I told people this, they acted as if something tragic had happened, but I kind of felt relieved, grateful to the thief who saved me from another year of something that felt more like homework than fun.
There were lots of lies along the way in life.
Lies without arms, lies that were ill, lies that did harm, lies that could kill. Lies on foot, or behind the wheel, black-tie lies, and lies that could steal.
I think living in Israel and wanting to change reality is the best prescription for never-ending writer's block.
I often give this metaphor where I say that writing short fiction is like surfing, while writing a novel is like navigating with your car. So when you navigate with your car, you want to get somewhere. When you surf, you don't want to get somewhere, you just don't want to fall off your board.
During the war, there were people wishing me death, wishing my son death, wishing my wife death in very graphic ways. In the past, I would go overseas and I would say, "Israel is like my family: we disagree, but we're all brothers." I can't say that anymore, because life proves me wrong.
The reason I write is that I'm not in dialogue with my emotions;
writing puts me in touch with myself.