“My Crappy Autumn” (novelette) by Nitay Peretz
English Publication History: Zion’s Fiction (Mandel Vilar Press, 2018)
Original: Hebrew (2005, unknown)
Translated by Emanuel Lottem, 2018
Synopsis: Ido’s autumn went from shitty to surreal very quickly. This portion of his life started with the unexpected break-up with his long-time girlfriend; thus, having lost the only thing he truly loved, Ido begins a downward spiral marked by sloth, gluttony, and utter disregard for others–in other words, his misery keeps him afloat in addition to the thoughts of a quick exit with a gun purchase. His depression is unfazed by the sudden conversion of his roommate to a popular prophet, one apostle of which is a talking donkey who becomes popular on TV. Further, aliens, who seem to be linked to the new prophet, also leave Ido unfazed. His rock is his mother, a typical overbearing mother stubborn to the ebb of time. Though the relationship is a strained one, Ido can sense some timelessness in otherwise turbid times.
Analysis: Many forms of entertainment are sensationalized. It garners our attention; we seek its roiling affairs of the heart. Daytime drama used to epitomize this, but it seems much of our news media has taken its cue from the former, thus dissolving the fine line between information and entertainment, between relevance and decadence. Sordid affairs are brandished over the news to captivate the social element of out brain rather than the intellectual or curious kernels. As a result, we now have the tendency to focus on our own personal drama, which distracts from the more important things around us.
Regardless of our drama, however, for the most part, the turbulence eventually tapers off and our lives return to a sense of normality; the deeper the drama, the greater sense of normality is felt upon that return. For Ido, though his drama is deep, so are the peripheral circumstances of his roommate-cum-prophet, a talking donkey, and aliens. Just as his life had once been one of routine and complacency, it’s almost assured that his life will snap back into normality in due time. With this mother as anchor, through the tumultuous seas of drama may rock his boat, there’s a reaffirming sense of permanence in the deep.
Review: Not only is the story of zany fun, but it also offers a fair amount of food for thought (e.g. the relevance of the talking donkey) and sympathy (e.g. for Ido’s troubles). It’s artistic merits are well veiled by the otherwise fast and interesting pace, which may compel the reader forward through the story rather than stopping to smell the roses while on the journey,