After seeing the movie Wristcutters: A Love Story, I simply had to track down an Etgar Keret book. I was ready for weird, but not ready for the weight of some of the stories that the Israeli writer gives us here. The bite-sized works in this collection are inventive, stark, strange, and alternately grotesque and beautiful. It’s great that they are so short and to the point because one gets the impression that if they were any longer, they could become almost unbearable. A few favorites are “Hat Trick” in which a birthday party magician’s trick of pulling a rabbit out of a hat goes horribly wrong, “Vacuum Seal,” in which a soldier finds an absurd reprieve from his training, and the eponymous story, in which a failed relationship is chalked up to a bizarre past. Like the other discombobulating stories in this book, they make no sense and also perfect sense. Keret’s cast of alternate universe players will delight readers looking for something a little different, while illuminating the best and worst in ourselves.
Connolly tells one of my favorite kind of stories—finding yourself. And he does it with intertwining some of my favorite fairy tales. The Book of Lost Things‘s main character is a boy named David who in a time of tragedy becomes a strong, confident man. This book is what you find yourself doing every day, escaping from something you are not ready to deal with. David would never get back the life he once had, and you are witness to him figuring that out as well as accepting his new fate. Connolly does an amazing job at getting you to look up to this boy. He does it with a perfect mix of knights, Snow White, and trolls. You will read fairy tales you thought you knew. You will root for David as he travels on a journey we have all taken, a journey to adulthood.