...the written conversation is savagely humorous, integrating satire, sarcasm, and shades of darker universal elements at a dizzying rate. Even better, as a reader, you’re so immersed in Keretworld, that the twist in the tale is particularly more outrageous and unexpected than usual. Fantastical, heart-breaking, laughter-inducing, fabulist, and sometimes just downright wacky, Keret’s writing is palpably imbued with a distinct element of intimacy, as though the author has just invited you into his local café or pub to chat about the state of the world—of our world—over your drink of choice.
Fly Already, Keret’s relaxed yet scintillating new collection of (ultra) short stories, is deeply invested in the problems—often traumas—that impede, alter, and on rare occasions improve relationships ... The humor and sweet irony that permeate Fly Already and most of the other stories in the collection allow Keret to bring his plots to a singularly human resolution. His characters, often suffering quietly from the throb of some deep and hidden (and sometimes bizarre) misery, find small comforts in the company of others, or in brief glimpses of beauty. Often these figures are wonderfully average, slightly clueless men whose troubles have left them directionless and, perhaps counterintuitively, emotionally open. It’s precisely that openness, that low-level hum of receptivity that predisposes them to a kind of quotidian sweetness and light that leaves you with a soft sigh, and maybe even a tear. That’s not to say that the situations Keret builds around his characters are in any sense 'every day.' He is a master conjurer of strange scenarios. But their occasional surreality and frequent absurdity only add to the impression that one is dealing with a deft craftsman ... a collection that actually feels like a book. In its adroit organization, its casual lack of pretentiousness, and its commitment to exploring a handful of prism-like themes through their various aspects, Fly Already comes closer than most to that ideal.
Israeli author Etgar Keret doesn’t just produce memorable short stories but short short stories ... this collection features some of the darkest imagery Keret has brought to print to date ... Keret plays with reality in ways that are reminiscent of Salman Rushdie but also have a splash of Kurt Vonnegut ... In order to enjoy Keret’s stories you have to accept his approach: He cares less about Saki-like revelations, and more about crafting characters that feel like those you know, even if they’re dropped into absurd situations ... Keret teases out humor in the darkest corners of our world, and his stories can have you laughing on one before clamping your throat shut with melancholy by the next. It’s a gift he’s brought to every collection ... Keret has the admirable ability to find the poetry in gritty situations swirling with cannabis smoke and sour regrets. This marriage pulls in readers hungry to learn about the human condition and all its messiness.