Deep in his heart, Yechiel-Nachman had made peace with his prayers going unanswered. Because prayer was the pure yearning for compassion and justice, whereas life was life: cruel, dispiriting, insulting. It was therefore only natural that two such contrasting worlds could never converge. But on October 7, 2023 – the 22nd day of Tishrei in the year 5784 – something in Yechiel-Nachman broke.
Photograph: Bumble Dee/Alamy
Keret tries to come up with the stories that capture his late mother, Orna Keret—but it’s hard, he says, because she’s like Maria in West Side Story and she’s also like Thanos from the Avengers. He ends up with a series of very short stories — most just a few paragraphs long — that give glimpses of different sides of her. These written stories are interspersed with off-the-cuff stories he tells This American Life host Ira Glass.
“I’ve never been shot out of a cannon,” I said and took another drag of my cigarette. “Sure you have,” Roman said. “When your ex left you, when your son told you he hates you, when your fat cat ran away. Listen, to be a human cannonball, you don’t need to be flexible or fast or strong, just lonely and miserable as hell.”