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Gaza Blues: Different Stories Paperback – April 23, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: David Paul (April 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0954054245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0954054243
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,241,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
The collaboration between Israeli and Palestinian writers is an attempt to provide some kind of example of creative peaceful coexistence without the identity politics than tends to run through a lot of Palestinian and Israeli literature. The two met at a literary conference, hit it off, kept in touch, and in response to the latest round of violence in 2002 decided to try and make some kind of unified statement. The result is a rather uneven volume, half of which is comprised of 15 of Keret's off-kilter microstories, which segue unevenly into El-Youssef's meandering and less satisfying novella.

Ever since I read Keret's excellent U.S. debut, The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God and Other Stories, four years ago, I've been waiting for more. I was finally able to get a hold of this via an interlibrary loan and was a little let down to see that almost half of Keret's stories had also been in The Bus Driver... Fortunately, those I hadn't read were just as good as those I had. He's a very entertaining writer who reminds me partially of Jonathan Lethem, who writes about surreal characters in much the same way, and partially of some of the Scots writers from the '90s who wrote tons of captivating 2-4 page stories. Just to give you a taste, one of my favorite involves a bored housewife supergluing herself to the ceiling.

El-Youssef's story about a hapless druggie Palestinian refugee in '80s Lebanon shows the mark of truth (El-Youssef was born in and grew up in such camps) and satire. Like all Palestinians, the protagonist is trying to escape his squalid existence in the camps, but he keeps getting derailed by his own weakness -- for drugs, for women, for tall tales. There are always grand plans and schemes that come to nothing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roger Brunyate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 13, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The political statement of this little volume is inspiring: a book of short fiction written jointly by one of Israel's leading authors (Keret) and a Palestinian living in exile (El-Youssef). The book itself is difficult to obtain at a reasonable price, but fortunately Keret is as prolific as he is brilliant and several other collections are listed on Amazon: THE GIRL ON THE FRIDGE, THE BUS DRIVER WHO WANTED TO BE GOD, FOUR STORIES -- and, less readily, two of the volumes from which the stories in GAZA BLUES were taken: MISSING KISSINGER and KNELLER'S HAPPY CAMPERS. El-Youssef, who now writes from London, is represented on Amazon only by his novella THE ILLUSION OF RETURN; he is an author whom I can respect more than enjoy.

I was a little disappointed to discover that in the book itself, the work of the two authors abutted but did not intermingle. Fifteen fragments by Keret, mostly very short, are followed by a single long story by El-Youssef; about sixty printed pages in all are devoted to each writer. They share a similarly manic vision, with a tendency towards the surreal.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By edeet on October 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
Keret's vision is unique, startling, funny, tragic. One is immediately transported in his tales to another dimension, where anything can happen, but there is nothing arbitrary about what does happen. Before you know it, you've had an intense experience, without quite understanding how. This is magical writing: controlled and wild, it reaches into the undercurrents of our perceptions and the world around us. The only genre classification I can think of is Keretian.
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