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Kneller's Happy Campers

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  2,008 ratings  ·  151 reviews
Kneller's Happy Campers is a strange, dark but funny tale set in a world very much like our own but it's an afterlife populated by people who have killed themselves - many of them are young, and most of them bear the marks of their death... bullet wounds, broken necks...(those who have over-dosed are known as 'Juliets').

When Mordy, our hero, discovers that his girlfriend f
Paperback, 96 pages
Published May 7th 2009 by Chatto Windus (first published 1998)
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Το Άθχημο γατί του θενιόρ Γκουαναμίρου
A clever short story on the futility of human existence, given with excellent doses of humor and tenderness. The film Wristcutters: A Love Story, 2006 is based on this book. Another version has also been released as a graphic novel under the title "Pizzeria Kamikaze".

The author creates a parallel universe, where those who have committed suicide go. The scars from their wounds remain on their post mortem bodies, but that does not prevent them from living, working, traveling and falling in love.
Nov 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: yorwtfiw
Originally posted here.

Everybody hates him, except Uzi. I think there's this thing that after you off yourself, with the way it hurts and everything – and it hurts like hell – the last thing you give a shit about is somebody with nothing on his mind except singing about how unhappy he is. I mean if you gave a flyin' fuck about stuff like that you'd still be alive, with a depressing poster of Nick Cave over your bed, instead of winding up here.

Etgar Keret's Kneller's Happy Campers manages to
Sep 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is such a short novella that it reads almost like a script to the movie Wristcutters: A Love Story. There's a lot very similar, which makes the movie a true adaptation. At the same time, the movie offers a bit of extra details that aren't included in the novel. Hollywood classically tacked on a happy ending to the movie while the book's ending is truer to the point of the book: the pointlessness of Mordy's hell and how the things you want only happen after they are no longer important. ...more
Stylo Fantome
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I saw the movie first and was curious when I realized it was based on a book.

I like the sort of disjointed, clipped way of storytelling the author has
August 2017: I also read the French translation. What else could I find? :) I am now also in possession of the original Hebrew, but cannot say I could understand it. :D
I wanted to read the graphic novel based on this book by Keret, but when I went to the library I realized I had ordered the German translation and I read it. I also enjoyed it!
I was a little confused by the changing of the names and now I am looking forward to the sunny day when I am going to be able to read this book in Hebre
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Keret's whimsical, deadpan style really appeals to me, but this novella, while quirky and filled with his trademark irreverent black humour, didn't work as well for me as his short stories (and non-fiction, but is different in feel to his fiction) I kept feeling that it needed to be either shorter or a lot longer. Still, an interesting read. ...more
Miriam Cihodariu
Mar 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A lovely classic of a book, after which the movie 'Wristcutters: A Love Story" has been made. Only after re-watching the movie for the second or third time I finally managed to read the book as well and I loved it.

It all feels surreal in a realistic way (if that makes sense), and I mean that in the brilliant, dark humor way that the afterlife (or Purgatory) gets portrayed, as a smaller version of Earthly life where everything is roughly the same only slightly worse. As an Eastern European, this
Mar 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
An unintelligible but funny book:)
Michael Loring
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-novels
It’s very hard to put into words this incredibly odd story. It’s set in a world that’s just like ours, but is slightly worse and full of people who have commited suicide. People walk around with holes in their heads, gruesome scars along their neck and arms, and blue faces; all according to how they did it. It’s a very unique tale about Mordy, a man who killed himself after the breakup between him and his girlfriend Desiree. When he discovers that Desiree, too, has commited suicide and now resid ...more
Simay Yildiz
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

The blurb of the book really does explain what it is: "a strange, dark but funny tale." A love story, in essence, but there's a lot more than that in it. Mordy, after killing himself, find himself in the afterlife world, which really is a lot like ours. The difference is that people walk around baring the wounds of how they killed themselves, bullet holes in their bodies and such. At the bar he discovers, Mordy meets Uzi and they become friends. And then, when Mord
Patrick Garrett
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the third of Keret's books that I've read, and every time I start one, I don't know know how the chaos of the first pages will ever resolve by the end of his characteristically short tales. But every time I turn the last page, they seem to make it, scraping in under some chain-link gate, closing on a strip mall comic book storefront as the caffeinated characters dance like extinguishing florescent bulbs inside. I enjoy every word he writes. After I read a sentence, it seems like it shoul ...more
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. I've wanted to read this book for years, ever since I saw the film it inspired: 'Wristcutters: A Love Story', which is one of my absolute favorites. There's definitely some key differences between the book and the film; I liked several elements of the film better. What I'm really torn on is the ending; at first I was really mad that it differed from the film's beautiful conclusion, but after letting it digest for a while, I actually think it's kind of perfect. ...more
Nov 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
Bookends on twitter made a TBR challenge, as in a 31 days challenge to finish stuff on out TBR instead of reading newly published ones. *eyes my shelves in distaste* what was I thinking when I bought all of these???? I'm not allowing myself from going to that BBW sale unless I finished at least the Indonesian books from last September.

Ok. Regarding this book. I've no idea when or why I wanted to read this. It's just there, I guess and I enjoyed nothing. That's probably too harsh. That bit about
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great angle, it amused me and made me want to keep reading. Great choice by one of our bookclubmembers, curious to see what the others will think of it!
Frank Mundo
Jan 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
At only 86 pages, I’m not sure what to call this book – a short novella? A long short story. Either way, it doesn’t matter. I call it good reading -- an extremely enjoyable and memorable read from beginning to end.

Basically, it’s a dark and kind of magical picaresque story in which we follow roommates Mordy (our hero and narrator) and his rambunctious German friend Uzi on their journey through an unnamed alternate “unreality” populated entirely by suicide victims on a seemingly hopeless quest to
Aug 17, 2014 rated it liked it
A couple of years ago after I broke up with my girlfriend of 3 years I watched the movie Wristcutters. And I absolutely loved the vibe it captures because it displays the familiar feeling of stasis and absurdity present in my own world. As a matter of fact, after we broke up, I started working at pizza place and taking long walks around my lower middle class suburban town. On these walks you'd see tons of people driving past in their cars, but on the sidewalks and parks nary a soul under the age ...more
Yair Ben-Zvi
Nov 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Etgar Keret impresses with a novella that shows his continuing growth as a writer and a imaginative force. The book slips in a few cliches now and again and even with suspension of disbelief there are a few odd bits and ends that don't quite add up, but these are like specks here and there in what is otherwise an intriguing and genuinely moving story.

Keret deals with a difficult (to put it as lightly as possible) subject, suicide, in a casual, almost nonchalant way but somehow still manages to b
Lunar Lunacy
Apr 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's extremely difficult to make suicide heartwarming, but Keret manages it. For anyone who enjoyed 'Wristcutters', rest assured that the story that inspired the film is just as enjoyable. Where the film gives more of an overview of the story, 'Kneller's Happy Campers' is straight from Mordy's point of view. (Oh, and all the names are different to the film.)

I am reluctant to give much away, as it is very short. I will say that I loved the Chapter titles. They foreshadow what will happen, but do
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
(no spoilers) You'd think with less than a hundred pages it'd be difficult to get attached to these characters, but it's not. Heck, I feel like I have a better friendship with them than I do people I've known my whole life. I watched the film version (Wristcutters: A Love Story) before I read this and I loved it, the only reason I knew this book existed was because I saw it on the credits.
And I'm going to do the unthinkable, I think I prefer the film but only in this sense... I prefer the endin
Nov 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm pretty surprised how true the movie was to the book. Nonetheless, it was still a great little read. The names were different and a few elements were changed, but the same dark humour that I love so much about Wristcutters: A Love Story was prevalent in this book, the movie's inspiration.

I'll have to admit that the ending took me by surprise, though. It's not entirely unpleasant, but it's definitely bitter-sweet.

This would have been a great novel, but it works lovely as a novella as well. Th
Jun 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
The book begins strong but the middle and end of the narrative didn't have enough steam. The climax was anticlimatic and was entirely lackluster in its prose. I was thrilled when I first picked it up but the book ultimately left me disappointed. I've read a few of Keret's short(er) fiction and loved it -- I think this work got caught in an uncomfortable middle between short fiction and novel. Had it been either longer or condensed, I think it could have been great. ...more
Jun 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: humor
My sister raved about this book, how hilarious it was. Yes, it was humorous at times but mostly I was bored.
Laura García
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
At first I wasn't sure about this kind of reading but I have to say that I really liked it. It's differrent and dark but also it's very funny , interesting and cute. ...more
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh my heart. I have loved the movie version since it came out, named my son zia, in fact. The book is just gorgeously sad, hopeful, poetic......I will treasure this.
Jan 07, 2022 rated it really liked it
More of a short story than a novella, really. But, I'm still counting it.

As I'm sure you know, this story is the basis for Wristcutters, which turned out to be one of those movies that had a profound effect on who I am as a person. The source material is only slightly different. The movie follows the story almost exactly, it just adds some extra stuff and changes all the names. (Is anybody in the movie Israeli? I don't think so.) The ending is sadder, (But if we're being honest, actually much b
Absurd story about the place you go to after committing suicide. Although the story starts off well, it just didn't grab my attention. ...more
George Little
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
The idea of an afterlife that resembles real life is a clever concept, especially when everyone is out in the open with their wounds. But unfortunately, the execution falls way flat. And it's a real shame.

The novella is bleak and strange with an uplifting, but hard-to-find hint of hope. I think the author wanted the reader to wonder not about death, but about "living." The (almost hidden) message of the book is that it is never healthy dwelling on things, and instead, we should appreciate the sm
Oct 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I heard that Etgar Keret is the hippest writer of modern Israel and a voice of a generation. I also read a 6 page interview with him on Rigas Laiks finding myself hooked enough to search for some of his work.
So I read this little story. It reads fast. The language is simple and sometimes I had a feeling that it is too simple. Like something I could be able to write or I think I could be able to write, so he gained some sympathy points immediately and all my attention.
The issues addressed seemed
If anyone wants to make a dark comedy movie of this, they'd make..... a killing.

No, but for real, this is the kind of thing that would (and should!) have a..... cult following.

And while comedy usually comes in threes, I can't think of a third atrocious death-pun in a row, but nevertheless, I hope this reflects the mood of the novella appropriately.

It was a fun read, refreshing in its way (after reading one too many heavy-handed, hamfisted story about depressed teenagers, a more lighthearted stor
Apr 15, 2014 rated it liked it
For the longest time, I had no idea that Wristcutters was based off of a book and, when I found out, I had to have it. To my surprise, it was only a 90-something page short story! Because of this, I had expected it to be a story focused on Kneller himself, and that the rest of the movie was just written around that.

Again, to my surprise, the movie and book are nearly identical (with the exception of names and the ending). I do wish that I could have read the book with a fresh look and no prior k
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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 45 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 Fil

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“Say,' Uzi pressed on, 'is it true that when you people go out on a job they promise you seventy nymphomaniac virgins in Kingdom Come? All for you, Solico?'

'Sure, they promise,' Nassar said, 'and look what it got me. Lukewarm vodka.'

'So you're just a sucker in the end, eh, ya Nasser,' Uzi gloated.

'Sure thing,' Nasser nodded. 'And you, what did they promise you?”
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