The Seven Good Years

Etgar Keret

Published: 5 May 2016
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 192 pages
ISBN: 9781783780471

About the author

Image of Etgar Keret

Born in Tel Aviv in 1967, ETGAR KERET is a leading voice in Israeli literature and cinema. He is the author of five bestselling story collections, which have been translated into 46 languages. His writing has been published in the New York Times, Le Monde, the Guardian, the New Yorker, the Paris Review and Esquire. He has also written a number of screenplays, and Jellyfish, his first film as a director alongside his wife Shira Geffen, won the Caméra d'Or prize for best first feature at Cannes in 2007. In 2010 he was awarded the Chevalier medallion of France's Order of Arts and Letters, and in 2016 he won the Bronfman Prize. His memoir The Seven Good Years was published by Granta in 2015. More about the author


‘[Keret's] voice is truly incomparable... In spite of its brevity, The Seven Good Years delivers some very big truths... [It] sparkles with humor and poignant wisdom, rendering wonderful immersions into Keret's inner landscape, the gentle and deeply affecting ways that both strangers and loved ones stir his compassionate imagination. Revelatory’ Ranen Omer-Sherman



‘[T]his collection of unusual coincidences, and vignettes of a life lived on the constant, bittersweet edge of surrealism. This scattering of laughs. This pack of sighs... Charming and heartbreaking’

‘[This book] cannot fail to entertain... Each separate story should be savored for many moments’ Ellis Shuman

[The Seven Good Years] has all the keen observation and sardonic wit of [Keret's] best fiction. [It] cunningly details the interplay between tragedy and joy... a story of the hope that somehow rises out of devastation’

Seven Good Years shows to what extent a book can really be all things at once... it excels in every category’

The Seven Good Years [is] a striking departure [for Keret]... He confronts the strange vulnerability of having a child and tries to acclimate to the existential loneliness of losing a parent... Particularly at the end, as he's slammed by the reality of his father's death, Keret confronts devastating grief without the comforts of cuteness’

The Seven Good Years examines the absurdity, fragility and unpredictability of life... in true Keret style, it promises to be both poignant and uproariously funny’

‘A delight’ Peter Clive Sinclair

‘A pleasure to read’

‘A whole society is passed through the sieve of Keret's ravaging humour... In the pages dedicated to his father, he captures a dignity and humour in the face of death that's entirely beautiful’

‘At once funny and profound, [this] is a gem. Read [Keret], and the world will never look the same again’ Claire Messud

‘Being a father, having a father - Etgar Keret is the man in the middle and he captures the job just brilliantly’ Roddy Doyle

‘Comic, surreal and disorientating... Close in spirit to Woody Allen, these 36 pin-sharp snapshots of life temper nervous comedy with aching tenderness’ Boyd Tonkin

‘Enchanting and captivating... Keret's stories are deeply moving and powerful, full of wit in the face of tragedy’ Marina Gerner

‘Extraordinary... It is a rare three-page piece that can move a reader to tears, but Keret does it without effort, and brings unexpected tears of laughter a moment later... Utterly brilliant’ Francesca Segal

‘Hilarious, brilliant, poignant... this book is like its author: genius’ Ayelet Waldman

‘Hilarious, hopeful, rueful, and wise, the essays together form a moving exploration of identity... A warm-hearted delight in life's absurdities threaded through with acute sensitivity to its sorrows’ Rebecca Abrams

‘I am very happy that Etgar and his work are in the world, making things better’ George Saunders

‘I love Etgar Keret. I adore Etgar Keret. Indeed, if my Hebrew were up to scratch, I would happily translate Etgar Keret for the rest of my life, for free, for the benefit of mankind... Keret excels in tales of the unexpected and the absurd... He is one of the funniest, most exhilarating and delightfully surprising writers currently working in any language’ Ian Samson

‘In The Seven Good Years, the brilliant Israeli writer's first memoir, Keret directs that shimmering extrovert's energy onto himself, sharing the "seven good years" between the birth of his beloved son and the death of his beloved father. You'll be utterly charmed and totally floored by Keret's easy prose, his philosopher's eye, and his wide open heart, and you'll pray that the next stranger who attempts to talk to you at the supermarket is someone as interesting as he’

‘Inspired... Keret rides the boundaries of autobiography, refusing to renounce the power of his fantasy... and pushes on to the truth at the heart of his writing’

‘Keret is a master: bracing, compassionate, so absolutely himself’ Rachel Cooke

‘Keret is a widely admired novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter. Now because of this worldly, absurdist book, he will be a beloved memoirist’

‘Keret is one of the outstanding writers of his generation...These pieces capture the strangeness of living in a country constantly threatened by violence but they also allow the normality of ordinary life to shine through’ David Herman

‘Keret recounts happenings both momentous and banal with the same engaging mix of naïve astonishment and sly humour. [His] oblique approach and winning self-deprecation give the reader much to appreciate. The writing combines playfulness with pathos and the author's dogged quest for the nugget of truth amid the crushingly ordinary is ultimately life-affirming. A gem of a book’ Peter Whittaker

‘Keret thinks and feels deeply, but he makes heavy points with a light touch... [his] lovely memoir retains its essential human warmth

‘Keret's stories are so compact, it's remarkable how much they pull off. But with his knack for drawing parallels between unlikely subjects - one story compares anti-Semitism to an overgrown lizard - they grab hold of us and never let go... The stories are clever, witty, and wise, not unlike the man who creates them’

‘Keret's writing exudes an intimate friendliness... [he] brings the same surreal edge and black-as-pitch humor to these nonfictional musings as he does to his short stories... A wise, witty, and wonderful take on home, family, and heritage’

‘Profoundly moving... falls somewhere between Kafka and Seinfeld

‘Quietly moving... gentle reflections on love, family, and heritage’

‘Refreshing to see how central the conditions of Israeli life are to [Keret's] work and his thinking. His alertness to the way people navigate their relationships with each other - an attribute that exists in something of a vacuum in his stories - widens here to include his own relationship to the Israel that surrounds him’

‘The work of a writer coming to maturity... comic [and] self-deprecating’ Alice O’Keefe

‘To read the work of Etgar Keret is to love a world only he can see, a universe askew... But it is the Israeliness in his soul that sharpens the edge of every zig and zag his stories take, and deepens the emotional power of even the most casual story of friendship, or romantic connection, or the crazy mechanics of sex... Keret in full voice - unadorned, with no time for whimsy - is quietly stunning. Indeed, two of his most powerful entries... constitute a kind of psychic map of modern Israel. Mesmerizing’

‘Whether he is recording his best recollection of events or embroidering it, Keret is a storyteller, one aware that stories have morals. From his father's bedtime tales, Keret extracts these lessons: "Something about the almost desperate human need to find good in the least likely places. Something about the desire not to beautify reality but to persist in searching for an angle that would put ugliness in a better light and create affection and empathy for every wart and wrinkle on its scarred face." These ideas reverberate through The Seven Good Years and beyond’

‘With the humour that made him a star, Keret tells a string of brilliant anecdotes, the small truths and large upheavals of his last seven years of existence.... Enlightening and hilarious’

‘Wonderful and beautifully-written... both heartwarming and chilling, Keret's stories have an empathic curiosity and affection for other human beings which truly sets him apart...There really is a deep sense of warmth running through almost every page’

‘You'll benefit from reading [this] slowly, digesting each crumb... Laughter and love are decidedly the best tools for defusing bombs’

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