So, I just finished reading the 2017 Man Booker International Prize winner ‘A Horse Walks Into A Bar’ by David Grossman. I can’t remember why I picked this book, but I’ve never read anything like it. At least no novel comes to my mind for now.
‘A Horse Walks Into A Bar’ is a tragicomedy that unfolds in just one evening. But it’s not the kind of book that one can finish in the same day. Grossman’s book needs to be patiently read over a few days or it would take a mental toll on the reader. It’s borderline depressing, not necessarily in a bad way.
It’s about an old stand-up comedian called Dovaleh doing his last gig in a small Israeli town. Through his last act, Dovaleh’s antics reveal to us just how hard the business of stand-up comedy is. His audience is torn between the urge to walk out or sit through it all and see if something spectacular will come out of it. But instead of getting a light night filled with fun and banter, they find themselves unwillingly pulled into his tragic past.
Grossman’s writing style is impeccably smooth. Although I had a difficult time understanding some pop-culture references that perhaps only an Israeli would get. However, despite being a tale set in a far off land, Dovaleh’s story is universal to any man or woman who is still fighting the ghosts of their past. Like Dovaleh’s audience, even the reader may find their attention flickering. There will be times when you just want to abandon the book, but if you manage to be stoic about it, you will find a satisfactory ending, even if it is not the kind of climax you were hoping for.
The most stunning feat that Grossman manages to achieve through this novel is write an ending that is applause worthy.
P.S – I am a GoodReads author and go by Sneha Jaiswal.