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Jetlag Paperback – January 1, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

First published as a limited edition in 1999, this anthology presents five short stories by popular Israeli author Keret adapted into comics by the five members of the Actus Tragicus collective. Keret's tales are brief, surreal fables that set up a witty premise and then end fairly abruptly. In the opening "HaTrick" (drawn by Batia Kolton), a children's magician, attempting to pull a rabbit out of his hat, pulls out the rabbit's severed head; when he tries it again, he withdraws a dead baby. Unfortunately for the artists, these stories are built more on suggestion than on action. In a few cases, literal representations of the story kill its mystique—particularly the title piece, drawn by Itzik Rennert, in which a man on an airplane (next to an evil dwarf disguised as a little girl) realizes that the flight attendant has fallen in love with him and plans to save him from a terrible fate. Only Mira Friedmann's visual elaboration on "Passage to Hell," which incorporates a good deal of pantomime that Keret doesn't mention in his text, adds much to its story. But the artwork is consistently terrific in its own right—the Actus group's stately compositions and calculated distortions owe more to modern art than to the comics tradition. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

Keret isn't exactly the Israeli Neil Gaiman, but he is a hot young writer (see The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God and Other Stories, 2001) who also works in comics. His manner is less like Gaiman's and more like those of American neosurrealists Kelly Link (Magic for Beginners, 2005) and Ray Vukcevich (Meet Me in the Moon Room, 2001) and such European fabulists as Karel Capek (Cross Roads, 2002) and Nikolai Gogol. He writes about mundane reality invaded by the fantastic. A little boy becomes uncommonly fond of a piggy bank. A man goes to the circus, falls in love, and ends up with a monkey. Flying home, a man gets hit on, meets a midget in drag, and then the plane crash-lands at sea. A magician pulls successively worse things out of his hat. The entrance to hell is near a village in Uzbekistan. The five artists involved, members of Actus (see Actus Presents Dead Herring Comics, 2004), share primarily a certain volumetric quality: their figures are meaty, their objects solid. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Toby Press (January 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592641555
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592641550
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,285,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on December 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
Etgar Keret, you're the most promising fortyish writer in Israel and you just love working in comics too. Your skills at farce and a Charles Schultz wistful sadsackness give your stories a lovesick, hovering, numinous quality like dark clouds over a child's tea party. In JETLAG FIVE GRAPHIC NOVELLAS you really take the word "novellas" and give it a new meaning, that is, you make it mean something brief and haiku like, when in ordinary English I expect it to mean something long. Comics have their own Orwellian newspeak but to dignify these sketches with the name of novellas would have Henry James, not to mention Isaac Balshevis Singer, rolling in their graves.

Etgar Keret, youe collaborators on JETLAG all belong to a collective called ACTUS, but their drawing styles could not be any different. Rutu Modan, who illustrates the final "novella," has a classic European clarity and the last panel, of your hero alone with his pet monkey on a seaside amusement pier, is like a panel from some lost Tintin adventure by Herge. Itzik Rennert, on the other hand, dazzles things up with a George Grosz meets Basquiat (or John Bankston) satiric crudeness of gesture and line: big thick sharpie strokes and a pornographic river of debauchery. As an Anerican boy growing up in France I used to try to imitate the line drawings in the books of erotica I found on the top shelves of my elderly professor's directoire, and if I had had three hands I might have been able to come up with something like this. Mira Friedmann is working the ominous shadows overmuch (granted when the story if called "Passage to Hell" that's a mighty big temptation) and one of your other Actus people can't really draw at all, might it be one of your relations trying to break into the big time on your dime?
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By T. Dean on September 19, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good stories for a 12 hour train ride to Boston, MA.
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