Archive Man Booker International 2017
A Horse Walks into a Bar, by David Grossman

A Horse Walks into a Bar, by David Grossman

A Horse Walks into a Bar, by David GrossmanA Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman, Jessica Cohen
Published by Jonathan Cape on November 10th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Literary fiction
Pages: 208
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four-half-stars

The setting is a comedy club in a small Israeli town. An audience that has come expecting an evening of amusement instead sees a comedian coming apart on stage, an act of disintegration, a man crumbling, as a matter of choice, before their eyes. They could get up and leave, or boo and whistle and drive him from the stage, if they were not so drawn to glimpse his personal hell. Dovale Gee, a veteran stand-up comic – charming, erratic, repellent – exposes a wound he has been living with for years – a fateful and gruesome choice he had to make between the two people who were dearest to him.
A Horse Walks into a Bar is a shocking and breathtaking read. Betrayals between lovers, the treachery of friends, guilt demanding redress. On stage the comic is torn between his commitment to his audience and the debt he owes to himself. Flaying alive both himself and the people watching him, Dovale Gee provokes both revulsion and empathy from an audience that doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry – and all this in the presence of a former childhood friend who is trying to understand why he’s been summoned to this performance.
David Grossman has reached yet another literary peak that is emotionally equal to his previous books and stunning, even outrageous, in its inventions and complexity.

“But you’ll have to wait patiently, my friends, because this is a story that, honest to God, I have never told in a show. Never told it in any gig, never told it to a single person, and tonight it’s going to happen…”

The wider his grin gets, the gloomier his face. He looks at me and shrugs helplessly. His entire being conveys the sense that he is about to take a big and disastrous leap which he has no choice but to take. 

David Grossman, in A Horse Walks into a Bar

 

A Horse Walks into a Bar.

It sounds like the start of a joke, right? And it is, one that seasoned comedian Dovaleh G begins to tell us, although we never hear the punchline. We sit with the audience of this stand-up comedy show from the opening line to the last.

But this is no joke. Do not be fooled by the premise. This is a deep and heartfelt study of one man’s character and the childhood wound that shaped, and haunted, him.

four-half-stars
Fever Dream, by Samanta Schweblin

Fever Dream, by Samanta Schweblin

Amanda lies in a hospital bed, alone but for the young boy David who whispers in her ear. It is David who tells her she is dying. The…

The Unseen, by Roy Jacobsen

The Unseen, by Roy Jacobsen

“Islanders are never afraid, if they were they wouldn’t be able to live here…” Roy Jacobsen, in The Unseen The Unseen shows a way of life that…

The Man Booker International Prize: 2017 Shortlist!

The Man Booker International Prize: 2017 Shortlist!

The Man Booker International Prize was established in 2005, and until 2015 was given every second year to recognise one author in recognition of their body of work…

Hi! I'm Julia, a lifelong reader, an aspiring writer, medical doctor, and now book blogger, from Queensland, Australia! Go to 'About Read and Live Well' to learn more!

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The Anti-Cool Girl by Rosie Waterland.
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