Suddenly, a Knock on the Door – Etgar Keret Entry 6

‘Suddenly, a Knock on the Door’ is a short story written by Etgar Keret. It is set in the living room of a writers house, in a middle eastern country. The story begins with a knock on the door of the writers house. A Swedish man comes in demanding the writer tells him a story. The writer only agrees as the man has a pistol. The writer tries to reason with the Swede that a story will not come to mind if there is a gun pointed at him. The writer begins to tell a story about a man being held hostage and forced to tell a story, when suddenly there is a knock at the door. Its a pollster who barges in with a gun also looking for a story. The writer starts his story again but this time with two kidnappers, but there is another knock on the door. This time it is a pizza man with a delivery, but the writer didn’t order pizza? The delivery man turns out to have also come for a story, but doesn’t have a gun only a cleaver, “but I’ll cut him into julienne strips unless he coughs up a good one, on the double.” The writer settles down to retell the story but the kidnappers won’t let him talk about what is currently happening in the room. He tells it anyway, getting a bit ocd having to get to the part about a knock on the door then the story ends.

The story talks about how in the middle east you have to take things by force, you can’t ask politely. “In this country,’ he explains, ‘if you want something, you have to use force.” This relates to the real world, as in a lot of third world/ ‘undeveloped’ nations the law is quite out of balance. This makes people feel as if they have to use force to get things. This is because everyone has become defensive of sharing things, so won’t freely give. So asking politely for something will not likely get it for you.

A personal connection I had with the text was with the writer. “It’s hard to think up a story with the barrel of a loaded pistol pointed at your head.” The writer struggle to think of things on the spot, or under pressure. I struggle with this a maybe a few times daily. When I’m talking about something and someone asks “Give me an example of when you’ve done this, or this has happened” my brain just freezes up. I can’t think of things easily when I am put on the spot, but I would think of a whole bunch of things straight afterwards. Another example of when I can’t think of things is during English exams or anything with a time limit. My brain takes ages to think of things as it go through all the best possible ways of how I could write something, and is constantly trying to improve it as I write it.

Respond now!