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Winner of the Man Booker International Prize A Guardian and New Statesman Book of the Year. The audience laughs and the man is surprised. ‘Why are you idiots laughing? That joke was about you!’ 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 falling 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. Dovaleh G, 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 breath-taking read. Betrayals between lovers, the treachery of friends, guilt demanding redress all are exposed as, flaying alive both himself and the people watching him, Dovaleh G unwinds in an act of very public exposure. It is an act of disclosure that 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. ‘Few writers hold a more unflinching mirror up to Israeli society than Grossman, for which he has been both hailed and reviled by Israelis and Palestinians alike. His work stubbornly refuses to flatter or console, but it is also suffused with compassion, acutely attuned to the complexity of individual lives and the solutions people find to the challenge of that complexity.’ – The FT The Man Booker International Prize judges comment: ‘An extraordinary story that soars in the hands of a master storyteller. Written with empathy, wisdom and emotional intelligence, A Horse Walks into a Bar is a mesmerising meditation on the opposite forces shaping our lives: humour and sorrow, loss and hope, cruelty and compassion, and how even in the darkest hours we find the courage to carry on. An unforgettable, bold novel by David Grossman, beautifully translated into the English language by Jessica Cohen.’ David Grossman is an Israeli author and peace activist whose work has been translated into more than 30 languages. He is best-known for his novel of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict To the End of the Land and the poignant mediation on parental bereavement, Falling Out of Time. Jessica Cohen is a freelance translator born in England in 1973, raised in Israel, and living in Denver. Her translations include David Grossman’s critically acclaimed To the End of the Land.
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- ISBN: 9781784704223
- Number of pages: 208
- Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm