Fly Already

Riverhead. Sept. 2019. 224p. ISBN 9781594633270. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780698166110. F
In the title story of this collection from Israeli author Keret (The Girl on the Fridge), a man on the ledge of a four-story building is mistaken by a little boy for a superhero poised to take flight, and so he is, but only as far as the street. In “One Gram Short,” the narrator seeks to score enough marijuana to impress a waitress he likes; his source is a lawyer who, in exchange for the dope, wants the narrator to create a “scene” in court in support of the lawyer’s case, which he assumes will shake up the judge. In “The Next-to-Last Time I Was Shot Out of a Cannon,” it takes the hapless narrator being propelled through the air to have the experience of someone smiling at him. All the stories are like this—quirky, funny, touching, immensely readable, pure pleasure—and though most are very short, they are tightly scripted and satisfyingly complete.
VERDICT Originally written in Hebrew, the pieces in this fine collection lose nothing in translation; the wit and humanity of each tale survive intact. Ideal reading for short bursts of time or short attention spans. [See Prepub Alert, 3/4/19.]
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