Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Suddenly, a Knock on the Door” as Want to Read:
Suddenly, a Knock on the Door
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Suddenly, a Knock on the Door

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  6,172 ratings  ·  713 reviews
Bringing up a child, lying to the boss, placing an order in a fast-food restaurant: in Etgar Keret's new collection, daily life is complicated, dangerous, and full of yearning. In his most playful and most mature work yet, the living and the dead, silent children and talking animals, dreams and waking life coexist in an uneasy world. Overflowing with absurdity, humor, sadn ...more
Paperback, 1st American Edition, 208 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published 1998)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Suddenly, a Knock on the Door, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Gabriela O. Sáenz Precisely, the story mentions the butterfly effect, it is that we are all connected, all our actions affect the lives of those around us for better or…morePrecisely, the story mentions the butterfly effect, it is that we are all connected, all our actions affect the lives of those around us for better or worse, each action has its consequence. That was what I understood.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,172 ratings  ·  713 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Suddenly, a Knock on the Door
May 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I’ve been wanting to read more works by Etgar Keret ever since I finished The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God & Other Stories. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that this particular collection had a lot more short stories that resonated with me than the aforementioned one.

Exuding a rare combination of depth and accessibility, Keret's tales overflow with absurdity, humour, longing and compassion, and though their circumstances are often strange and surreal, his characters are defined by a fa
Greta G
Heaven and Hell

(view spoiler)
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Etgar Keret became known to me in 2008 when I happened across an excellent interview with him in a 2006 edition of The Believer. I liked what he had to say in that piece, so I picked up a book of his stories (The Nimrod Flipout: Stories). His style of writing was a marked difference from so many of the MFA graduate story writers that I had come to enjoy and respect - that differentiation was a good thing. Some of his stories are three pages, two pages long. His ability to write a handful of para ...more
#7 Favourite Read of 2012

My only previous experience with Keret was the brilliant and beautiful movie Wristcutters: A Love Story based on his novella Kneller's Happy Campers so when this brand new collection of short stories was offered to me by a local bookseller I had no hesitation in buying it.

And I am so glad I did, as it was a revelation, completely unlike anything else I've read. His stories are often strange and slightly fantastical, funny, dark, impressive and affecting. This is a seriou
Elyse  Walters
May 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My very favorite short story is:

"What Do We Have in Our Pockets"

I also wanted to cry in "What Animal are You"?

I had a very challenging time understanding "SHUT". I read it 4 times --- (I 'think' I get it)

"Creative Writing", "Unzipping", "Suddenly A Knock On the Door", "Upgrade".....etc. etc. etc.......

These SHORT stories are funny and sad -playful & mature -loving and insightful -strange -fresh- sweet- unpretentious -and a little like sticky-taffy-c
Wow, what a ride! Loved it.
Wildly inventive. It's like literary Silly Putty that's been smushed up against color comics, peeled off and then stretched and pulled. It kind of looks the same as the real thing but is weirdly distorted. In a way that is more interesting and alive than the original.
And then it makes you smile.
Sam Quixote
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Tell Me A Story” opens this book of short stories, as a writer called Etgar Keret is forced at gunpoint to make up a story on the spot by a home invader. As more characters are introduced – a survey taker, a pizza delivery man, all of whom turn up at his door in succession like in a sitcom – each of them enter his flat, pull out a weapon and demand a story. This sense of playfulness and originality runs through a lot of the short stories in Keret’s latest collection, “Suddenly, A Knock On The D ...more
Apr 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Etgar Keret can do more in three or four pages than many short story writers can in stories that border on novellas. There are nearly three dozen stories that span just 188 pages, yet many are simply brilliant.

The eponymous and first story starts with a directive: “Tell me a story.” Under gunpoint, the narrator – Etgar – is ordered to make up a story. He is interrupted early on: “That’s not a story…That’s an eyewitness report. It’s exactly what’s happening here and now. Exactly what we’re trying
Judging by all the 4&5 star reviews, I was clearly missing something here, as for me this began as a huge disappointment.
Unlike the glowing reviews on the back cover, I didn't see much maturity on display here, more the opposite in fact. Neither was the authors renowned humour apparent, although many stories began like the start of a good joke - "A man and his son walk into an acupuncturists' treatment room", they invariably ended like bad ones, with no punch line. "There's nothing stranger than
Etgar Keret, who I've been lucky enough to hear speak in an intimate setting, is a surrealist. He's an expert at taking the mundane and making it extraordinary. Keret, an Israeli Jew who often draws ire from the Israeli right for his leftist political views and criticism of Israel's policy against Palestinians, is a charming man who loves to shock. When he was speaking to my group, he talked about his crazy dad's relationships with prostitutes and the mafia in Italy after surviving the Holocaust ...more
Bernard Batubara
Aug 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
i've just finished reading this book. this is stories collection by one of my fav author, an israeli writer named etgar keret. i love his stories; they're very very short and hit right on the spot, like a bullet shot by a world's number one sniper. his stories are funny, too. you can find a glimpse of israel's culture here, and the war. and also, love stories. i love it when he writes love stories. they make you feel hurt, but then they heal you with their comforting words. that is etgar keret w ...more
Jan Rice
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it

What kind of short stories are these?

That's a good question. For one thing, they are short short stories. Most of them are two to four pages long. There are 35 short stories in 185 pages. A story is over before you know what hit you.

They may be fables. I just looked up the definition. But not in the sense of "etiology"--explaining why things are the way they are, as in Aesop's. They're not allegories with some hidden meaning. Parables? Maybe, in that they do touch on morality, but, again, is tha
Betsy Robinson
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, mind-stretchingly imaginative, funny, sad, wonderful stories that sparkle so brightly your psyche lights up.

The last book I read, Bernie Sanders's Our Revolution , concluded by saying something very profound: that as a species, we are suffering from a lack of imagination. What he was referring to was our inability to imagine the real possibility of creating, ourselves, a new way of living. There is something so orderly about going from reading Our Revolution to Suddenly, A Knock on
Karen Leopoldina
if you like your short stories to be clever and witty with inventive narrative twists, then Keret is your man. originality and humour will always grab the attention of your reader but will it sustain them? whilst i admire all of these qualities in Keret's writing they also left me strangely dissatisfied, and this feeling only increased the further i made my way through this collection. i like warmth, depth, insight in my fiction not narrative word games which, rather than draw the reader into a ...more
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anth-coll
This has been on my to-read list since I finished The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God & Other Stories a while back. Great stories, some shorter than short, but most deep with meaning. Many are also set in and around Israel, the author's home.

I read the audio book version of this, voiced by a star-studded cast (listed below). Mostly I paused between stories for thought - this is not a collection to be read in one sitting. My two favorites were probably "Joseph" and "Lieland". Recommended!

Apr 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So often I read a short story and feel like, you know, what was the point of that story? Like there's something to get that I'm just not getting, because maybe I'm a fool, or maybe I'm just not very deep, or, if I'm feeling confident at the time of the reading, maybe the author didn't actually know what he or she was doing.

Not this book of very, very short stories, though. These were funny, sad, interesting, and they wrapped up in a satisfying way. I'm sure different ones stick with different pe
Yair Ben-Zvi
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Reading Etgar Keret is refreshing for me because he embodies much of what's good about Israeli literature without too much of the baggage. Now, I adore the likes of Amos Oz, David Grossman, AB Yehoshua (to an extent), Yoram Kaniuk, Aharon Appelfield, and the like, but sometimes their respective works can be so heavy, thick with the angst and long suffering neuroses and obsessions of the Jewish people. It can be a distinct drag, man. This isn't to say that Keret's work is free of these descriptor ...more
Weronika Zimna
Now this is a weird case...
I really liked some of these stories. I also disliked some of them but, you know, that's often the case with short story collections. I've read like 3/4 of the book & I had to return it to the library today. I could borrow it again but... I don't feel like it? Some of the stories were smart, funny, fun to read, yes. But I never loved them. They are easily forgettable, too. So I'll just leave it at that.
More like 3 1/2 *.
Some stories I liked very much, some were mhh just ok. :)
My favourite Keret ever remains Kneller's Happy Campers and I urge you all to read it. Such a charming (short) book!
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: israel, fiction, jewish
Typical Keret, an edgy, irreverent, absurdist, and at times surreal collection of short stories that examine the human condition.
Valkyrie Vu
I was drawn by its tittle which is quite a deceiving one because it sounds like a horror tittle while in fact it's not a horror book . It's just strange . The author was threatened by three strangers to tell them a story . What kind of story would you tell if your life depended on it ? That must be "something out of something , a story about human situation , human condition " .

I'm so glad I found Etgar Keret . It's the same exciting feeling when you get to know someone really interesting and y
Dec 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: short-stories
First I loved the title and I needed to read a collection of short stories for a reading challenge. So that is how this book entered my life. These short stories are very, very short. There are many glowing reviews for this book, and sadly, I'm not one of them. When I finished this I couldn't help but think that I missed something because this was a bit of a yawner for me.

I liked the surreal quality of some of his stories. That alone kept me going to the next page. And I can honestly say, I've
Daniel Polansky
For my money, Keret might be one of the best short story writers of the age—always original, funny when he wants to be, critical of society’s foibles but sympathetic to us poor schmucks caught in the middle of the mess. This collection is a maybe a little darker than the rest (reasonable given it’s the most recent and, you know, the state of the world and everything) but it’s still a delight to buzz through, like downing a bag of potato chips except each one is valuable. Maybe it’s more like Kal ...more
Friederike Knabe
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robbie, one of the protagonists in Etgar Keret's new short story collection, SUDDENLY, A KNOCK AT THE DOOR, has a dream that changes the way he understands the world around him. The story, LIELAND, one of my favourites among the thirty five in this slim volume, is on the surface a simple growing up story of a boy who started lying at a young age and continues to do so, successfully, in ever more elaborate ways, until... "it all started with a dream". By reaching into the surreal world of dreams, ...more
Michael Seidlinger
Etgar Keret is able to condense a whole novel in fewer words that you use when introducing yourself.

His stories do so much in so little time. A true master of subtlety.

Buy this, and his other three collections. Finish the four books and you will have read the equivalent of a whole bookshelf of strange fiction.
 Sophia B
Keret has an original voice. Very creative and minimal stories, but I feel they lack some of the vulnerability, humor and sensitivity of 7 good years.
Grant Reynolds
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Suddenly, A Knock On The Door by Etgar Keret was crazy, crazy good, complete game changer! I've read a few of these stories before in different publications or anthologies and have always been blown away by his work. His stories are typically short, funny & whimsical. The first story I ever read of Etgar's that's included in this book is What, Of This Goldfish, Would You Wish and it was so good & different that I stopped reading, put the book down just to let it linger with me a while longer. No ...more
Rachelle Urist
Etgar Keret specializes in extremely short stories. They are often just one or two pages long. But they're complete. Sometimes an odd image or metaphor is introduced at the outset. By the end, its relevance and significance are crystal clear.

Some of his images are quirky. Consider his images of lies materializing. He writes: "They found her feeding the litter from his most recent lie." (The she is a maimed dog). There is considerable fusion of dreams and reality. Strange, impossible things seem
Dec 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
As I read all of these glimmering reviews, I wonder how many have read his other work. Although this wasn't terrible, it definitely wasn't something to write home about, at least for Keret.

All the stories were so forced, like something you wrote in college when you had a paper due in 2 hours for English class, but couldn't think of a story so you wrote 2 pages of something kind of imaginative but made up a random, disconnected ending to make your paper long enough.

I am a huge Keret fan myself,
Mark Flanagan
The best of Etgar Keret’s stories are those in which, like a postmodern Israeli Kafka, he reaches through the mundane lives of his everyday characters, behind the shear curtain of reality to find the surreal underpinnings of this world as we never suspected it might be. A great example from this collection is "Guava" which you can read here. There aren't as many of these as I recall there being in The Nimrod Flipout, which I would recommend reading before this book. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Mic Breaks Only: Suddenly: Suddenly - Unzipping 5 17 Feb 28, 2014 08:46PM  
Mic Breaks Only: Suddenly:September - Animal 5 13 Feb 07, 2014 04:23AM  
Mic Breaks Only: Suddenly:Ari - Hemorrhoid 3 10 Jan 27, 2014 07:38PM  
Mic Breaks Only: Suddenly: Polite - Bad Karma 3 10 Jan 27, 2014 02:47PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Second Person Singular
  • Beaufort
  • שתיים דובים
  • Dancing Arabs
  • Mirisi, zlato i tamjan
  • The Color of Love: A Story of a Mixed-Race Jewish Girl
  • Gaza Blues: Different Stories
  • Esau
  • Men and Cartoons
  • Din ce este făcut un măr?
  • Barranca
  • Unique Item
  • დოპლერი | ნაივური. სუპერი.
  • Limassol
  • Все, способные дышать дыхание
  • Track Changes
  • Divlje guske
  • Dark Carnival
See similar books…
Etgar Keret is an Israeli writer known for his short stories, graphic novels, and scriptwriting for film and television. His books had been published in more than thirty languages.

Keret has received the Prime Minister's award for literature, as well as the Ministry of Culture's Cinema Prize. The short film Malka Lev Adom (Skin Deep, 1996), which Keret wrote and directed with Ran Tal, won an Israel

Related Articles

Like  The Mothers , Brit Bennett’s bestselling debut,  The Vanishing Half  revolves around a secret with far-reaching implications. 
41 likes · 8 comments
“He misses the feeling of creating something out of something. That’s right — something out of something. Because something out of nothing is when you make something up out of thin air, in which case it has no value. Anybody can do that. But something out of something means it was really there the whole time, inside you, and you discover it as part of something new, that’s never happened before.” 30 likes
“The fact is that everything I have in my pockets is carefully chosen so I’ll always be prepared. Everything is there so I can be at an advantage at the moment of truth. Actually, that’s not accurate. Everything’s there so I won’t be at a disadvantage at the moment of truth.” 11 likes
More quotes…