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March 28, 2012

Book Notes - Etgar Keret - "Suddenly, a Knock on the Door"

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

Previous contributors include Bret Easton Ellis, Kate Christensen, Kevin Brockmeier, George Pelecanos, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, David Peace, Myla Goldberg, and many others.

Brilliantly absurd, dark, and funny, Etgar Keret's new short story collection Suddenly, a Knock on the Door further cements his place as a unique stylist and one of the most talented authors writing today.

Publishers Weekly wrote of the collection:

"In this slim volume of flash fiction and short stories, Israeli author/filmmaker Keret (The Nimrod Flipout; the film Jellyfish) writes with alternating Singeresque magical realism and Kafkaesque absurdity."

Stream a Spotify playlist of these tunes. If you don't have Spotify yet, sign up for the free service.


In his own words, here is Etgar Keret's Book Notes music playlist for his short story collection, Suddenly, a Knock on the Door:


Jacques Brel, "Ne Me Quitte Pas"

When my mother played me Brel songs for the first time when I was a child, she said, "If you understood French , you'd be crying, too." "But Mom," I said, "I am crying."


David Bowie, "Amsterdam"

For those of you who don't understand French and are tougher than this pussy writer, this is Bowie singing one of Brel's songs in English.


David Byrne, Look into the Eyeball

Speaking of David B's. When I was a teenager I worked in a record store where people would actually buy those round plastic things with a hole in the middle (I'm old, I know). And I'm pretty sure the store I worked in was the best seller of David Byrne albums in the world.


Pixies, "Where Is My Mind?"

And speaking of Old Guy's nostalgic moments: this is my first joint song.


Charlie Chaplin, "Smile"

Whatever this guy did was magical.


Johnny Cash, "One"

Listening to Cash sing "One" for the first time felt like listening to a brand new song, which was extremely sincere and moving. Since then, every time I hear Bono sing it, it is as if I am listening to a cover version.


Johnny Cash, "Hurt"

Listening to just one Johnny Cash cover is like eating one peanut. Only Zen masters are this strong willed.


Aviv Geffen, "Mr. Down & Mrs. High"

No good nepotistic Jew's playlist can be complete without plugging one's wife's talented kid brother's song.


Gogo Bordello, "Through the Roof"

And while we're on plugs, go see Wristcutters: A Love Story. This is the theme song.


Leonard Cohen, "First We Will Take Manhattan"

We may take Berlin first for convenience' sake. But on a macro level, we are sticking to the Cohen plan.


Randy Newman, "Christmas in Capetown"

When my students claim it is impossible to write a character they totally disagree with in an empathic way, I suggest they try to listen to a Randy Newman song.


Randy Newman, "Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear"

Just so you know, Randy Newman doesn't only write heartbreaking bastard characters. He can write heartbreakingly, nice guy characters, too. This one is my favorite Newman song.


Etgar Keret and Suddenly, a Knock on the Door links:

the author's website
the author's Wikipedia entry
excerpt from the book (the story "Unzipping")

Capital New York review
Daily Mail review

The Book Bench interview with the author
CBC Radio interview with the author
The Jewish Chronicle profile of the author
New Statesman interview with the author
Observer profile of the author
Tablet contributions by the author


also at Largehearted Boy:

other Book Notes playlists (authors create music playlists for their book)
my 11 favorite Book Notes playlists

List of Online "Best Books of 2011" Lists
List of 2011 Year-End Online Music Lists

100 Online Sources for Free and Legal Music Downloads
52 Books, 52 Weeks (weekly book reviews)
Antiheroines (interviews with up and coming female comics artists)
Atomic Books Comics Preview (weekly comics highlights)
Daily Downloads (free and legal daily mp3 downloads)
guest book reviews
Largehearted Word (weekly new book highlights)
musician/author interviews
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
Shorties (daily music, literature, and pop culture links)
Soundtracked (composers and directors discuss their film's soundtracks)
Try It Before You Buy It (mp3s and full album streams from the week's CD releases)
weekly music & DVD release lists


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