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Saturday, April 22, 2006

My review of Jetlag by Etgar Keret

Keret, Etgar and Actus Comics. Jetlag New Milford, CT : Toby Press, 2006. 80 p. ISBN : 1-59264-155-5

The first thing that one notices about the 5 graphic novellas in this collection is how different they seem, despite all being written by the same author. This is partly due to the way Keret varies the personalities and characteristics of his protagonists from one story to the next. It is also a result of the unique artistic style of each of the individual artists who illustrate his stories here (in dazzling color).

On the surface, none of these tales seem to be particularly Jewish or even particularly Israeli (the locale chosen for each story is different, though part of the first story takes place in Tel Aviv). Taken as a whole, though, the reader is exposed to a world where mundane normalcy is horribly interrupted by death, dismemberment or the threat of violence - symbolically evocative of the unpredictable terror that has become a fact of everyday Israeli life.

There are no wars, suicide bombers or terrorists in this book. There aren't even any true antagonists, in the sense that we're used to reading in literature. Instead there are such "Twilight Zone"-style absurdities as a rabbit's severed head being pulled out of a magician's hat, a woman who becomes infatuated with a dead man, a plane that is deliberately crashed to teach a lesson, a disabled monkey driven around in a wheelchair and a boy's beloved piggy bank.

I would reccommend this title for the general adult (and teen) graphic novel collections of public, academic and synagogue libraries, as there are scenes which are inappropriate for children.

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