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Publisher's Summary

In a little dive in a small Israeli city, Dov Greenstein, a comedian a bit past his prime, is doing a night of stand-up. In the audience is a district court justice, Avishai Lazar, whom Dov knew as a boy, along with a few others who remember Dov as the awkward, scrawny kid who walked on his hands to confound the neighborhood bullies. Gradually, teetering between hilarity and hysteria, Dov's patter becomes a kind of memoir, taking us back into the terrors of his childhood - his beautiful flower of a mother, a Holocaust survivor in need of constant monitoring; his punishing father, a striver who had little understanding of his creative son. Finally, recalling his week at a military camp for youth - where Lazar witnessed what became the central event of Dov's childhood - Dov describes the indescribable while Lazar wrestles with his own part in the comedian's story of loss and survival. A beautiful performance by Grossman (jokes in questionable taste included).

©2014 David Grossman and Ha'kibbutz Ha'meuchad; English translation copyright 2017 by Jessica Cohen (P)2017 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Performance

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An extraordinary experience

I can't say enough good things about hearing this terrific book read. by this extraordinary reader – that's an experience I'll never forget.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Grossman is a genius/performance is excellent

Would you listen to A Horse Walks into a Bar again? Why?

I'm certainly keeping this one--Grossman writes with attention to the moment-to-moment details of dialogue and plot--no flab here. Joe Barrett tackles a difficult work--a lot of movement in and out of different narrative voices--with ease.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Mixed feelings

Narration of this book requires differentiating voices. The narrator did not do that and sometimes it was confusing as to who was talking, doing, thinking. It was the sort of book that would probably have been better read because some things needed to be reread. I had a hard time getting into it at first. But, like the audience, which I think was the point, I became intrigued with the character. The title leads one to believe that it will be a humorous story. It is not.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Formidable Grossman

A Tour de Force. The narration was key. An amazing narrative to listen to while driving. Transporting to another world!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Don't waste your time

The narrator was awful...his Hebrew was terrible and his voices weren't distinct enough to differentiate characters

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great book and amazing reading

This is a great book to listen to. The story is solid. the reading is great. I don't want to spoil--just listen.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Unlistenably bad

Tried several times to get into the "story" and finally gave up. A waste of time.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Felt like I was paying to be a therapist

The main character is one unhappy person who is trying to make a living as a stand-up comic. At one point in the book, someone in the audience gets up and walks out, saying something along the lines of "why doesn't he pay a therapist." That pretty much sums ups he story - it's a stand up comic, who is not really funny, working out his issues on stage. The side story of the person in the audience who was his childhood friend is absolutely lost in all the melancholy of the stand up comic's antics on stage.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Wish he had kept walking

What a total waste of time! I kept waiting for something to happen and it never did

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • gail
  • Plainfield, VT, United States
  • 07-15-17

Very tough listen

The reader is pitch perfect as is the writing, but the content is a tough listen. The listener is propelled forward, but I'm not sure where i ended up.