A Horse Walks Into a Bar
Overview - **WINNER OF THE 2017 MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE** The award-winning and internationally acclaimed author of the To the End of the Land now gives us a searing short novel about the life of a stand-up comic, as revealed in the course of one evening's performance. Read more...
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More About A Horse Walks Into a Bar by David Grossman; Jessica Cohen
**WINNER OF THE 2017 MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE** The award-winning and internationally acclaimed author of the To the End of the Land now gives us a searing short novel about the life of a stand-up comic, as revealed in the course of one evening's performance. In the dance between comic and audience, with barbs flying back and forth, a deeper story begins to take shape--one that will alter the lives of many of those in attendance.
In a little dive in a small Israeli city, Dov Greenstein, a comedian a bit past his prime, is doing a night of stand-up. In the audience is a district court justice, Avishai Lazar, whom Dov knew as a boy, along with a few others who remember Dov as an awkward, scrawny kid who walked on his hands to confound the neighborhood bullies. Gradually, as it teeters between hilarity and hysteria, Dov's patter becomes a kind of memoir, taking us back into the terrors of his childhood: we meet his beautiful flower of a mother, a Holocaust survivor in need of constant monitoring, and his punishing father, a striver who had little understanding of his creative son. Finally, recalling his week at a military camp for youth--where Lazar witnessed what would become the central event of Dov's childhood--Dov describes the indescribable while Lazar wrestles with his own part in the comedian's story of loss and survival. Continuing his investigations into how people confront life's capricious battering, and how art may blossom from it, Grossman delivers a stunning performance in this memorable one-night engagement (jokes in questionable taste included).
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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Grossman (To the End of the Land) masterfully balances the neuroses and hard-earned insight of veteran stand-up comedian Dov Greenstein with a defining memory thats 40 years in the shaping. The story of Dovs lifehis worship of a mentally ill mother who survived the Holocaust, his contentious relationship with his father, his awkward adolescence, and a brief stay at a military camp in Gadnaunspools over one evening in a basement club in the small city of Netanya, Israel, related through the observations of Avishai Lazar, a boyhood friend of Dovs and, later, a respected judge. As Dov immerses himself in his act, the audiencemany of whom eventually walk out in bewilderment or anger at Dovs deeply personal (and often decidedly grim) revelationscome to understand that, amid the self-deprecating humor and good-natured banter, the comedian is, for the first time, recounting the formative event of his life. For an instant, when he looks up, the spotlight creates an optical illusion, Avishai muses as he watches Dov discover what has lain hidden for decades, and a fifty-seven-year-old boy is reflected out of a fourteen-year-old man. Grossman wrestles with questions of faith and friendship, fate and family, with empathy, wisdom, and acerbic wit. (Feb.)