In Which A Book About Suicide is Strangely Hopeful

Kneller’s Happy Campers
Etgar Keret


Another book about suicide, yes.

I picked this up after seeing SJ’s glowing review. I’ve never seen the movie. I jus thought the premise sounded interesting enough, and it’s a really thin book.

It’s a strangely bleak yet hopeful novel. You have an afterlife which entirely resembles real life (except everyone is out in the open with their wounds), which makes you wonder not about death, but about this thing we call “living”.

Nevertheless we do get a bit of hope, as we see how Mordy finds some form of peace as he learns to let go.

Mordy keeps trying for miracles throughout the novel, but it only happens for him when everything else he hoped for had gone to shit.

Someone on Goodreads said it means the things you want to happen, happens only when they’re no longer important, but I disagree. I think what the book means is that the things we think are important really aren’t, and the small miracles we ignore are.

Mordy figures this out eventually. He realises that grand thoughts of love and forever are hollow, and that when you keep obsessing over That One Thing (it could be love, as in Mordy’s case, or something else, depending on what matters to you most) you forget to see what’s here and now.

For a book about suicide that’s a surprisingly uplifting message. Lets just hope we don’t all wait till we’re working at Pizzeria Kamikaze to figure this out.


Possible spoilers:

There’s some dead guy named Kurt who used to be in a band but now spends his time in the afterlife whining about how popular he was. I resent this because if this is who I think it is then hey, that’s not cool. He was a pretty nice guy.

I had to say “if this is who I think it is” because there’s another guy, J (short for Joshua), who calls himself the Messiah King and who offed himself in Galilee. If you think about it you might assume it’s that J, right? Because he could have jumped down the cross or turned everyone into ninja turtles if he wanted to but he didn’t, so it kind of sort of counts.

Except it’s not him in this novel.


3 thoughts on “In Which A Book About Suicide is Strangely Hopeful

  1. Wow, I never would have thought Kurt=Kurt if you hadn’t said that! Um, dur.

    Really glad you picked it up, this is one I was hoping people would take a chance on.

      • Awww! I’m totally happy to be a bookpusher!

        I have some of his other stuff already, but I’m kind of nervous about reading it because I just really liked this so much.

        Maybe this summer, after I’ve fulfilled my other reading obligations promises.

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