Book Review: Readings

Etgar Keret


Pizzeria Kamikaze

by Etgar Keret and Asaf Hanuka

Alternative Comics, 100 pp., $14.95

Here's the other half of the Hanuka twins, crafting a graphic work from the short story "Kneller's Happy Campers" by acclaimed Israeli author Etgar Keret. The set-up is fantastic: There's a specific afterlife set aside for everyone who's committed suicide, and that afterlife is pretty much like our good ol' quotidian Earth. "But now that I'm here, it reminds me of Tel-Aviv. My German roommate says this place could just as well be Frankfurt. I guess Frankfurt's a dump, too." The narrative – also serialized in Bipolar #1-5 – follows Mordecai, a twentysomething cook at the eponymous Pizzeria Kamikaze, who takes his friend Uzi and heads off to seek his old girlfriend who (he's found out) also killed herself. Aside from the setting (as if), it's a typical friend-bonding, character-filled, caper-enhanced road trip, expertly paced and drawn all the way to its eerie conclusion.

Asaf's gorgeous artwork is printed here in two colors: not only deep black, but also metallic silver on glossy paper, giving the entire volume a stunning and (appropriately) otherworldly look. Also? Raanan Elizov has designed the best damn book cover of the year, period.

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