The Seven Good Years: A Memoir

The Seven Good Years is the first book of nonfiction by Israeli writer Etgar Keret (Suddenly, a Knock on the Door). It is not a traditional narrative memoir, but a series of short anecdotal essays organized by year, bookended by the birth of his first child and the death of his beloved father. Each essay could stand alone, but together they form an impressionistic record of his life and worldview in this period of time.

Keret writes in a clean, conversational tone filled with dry humor, pursuing thoughts and ideas that sprawl out in unpredictable and deceptively natural directions. The absurdity and insecurity of life is his dominant theme. His wife gives birth at a hospital as it fills with victims of a terrorist attack. His mother points out the similarity between Angry Birds and religious fundamentalist terrorism. War becomes a tool for negotiating his phone bill and an excuse to postpone home repairs. He and his wife lie on a highway shoulder with their son, trying to make a fun game out of a rocket attack. The child of Holocaust survivors, Keret contemplates his Jewish and Israeli identity as he travels in Europe and the U.S. Anxiety and family love motivate him to look past his laziness, trivial pleasures and impulsive anger, and explore the moral implications of ordinary events. As his wife says: "Our life is one thing, and you always reinvent it to be something else more interesting. That's what writers do, right?" --Sara Catterall

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