Book Review: A Horse Walks Into a Bar – David Grossman

Hello everybody, this is the first book review of a weekly segment of book reviews written by me. This week I will be looking at and reviewing the book, A Horse Walks Into a Bar by David Grossman; winner of the International Booker Prize.

This novel follows the main character, Dovelah Greenstein, as he gives his final performance of stand-up comedy; narrated through the view of the character Avishai Lazar. Dov starts the performance in what seems like a pretty standard way, until he starts wailing on himself physically. He then transitions into telling the story of his mother’s death with the periodic interjections of a joke or two. As he tells the story the crowd begins to dwindle, but his story crescendos right up to the end. 

I was not sure what this book would entail when coming into it and certainly did not expect what I got out of it. Without spoiling the whole book, I can warn that it is actually pretty sad at times. It is not the classic tear-jerker tragedy or somber, heart tugging tale, no. David Grossman’s book is a little different. It is a story of a man coping with his mother’s death in a way he did not seem to expect, and one that the audience certainly did not either. A Horse Walks Into a Bar keeps you engaged the whole time, much like a classic comedy set. Though Dov’s comedy routine is everything but classic. It is hard to put this book down, as it creates the weird effect where it is so sad, funny, and interesting at the same time you have no choice but to see where Dov goes with things. 

On a scale of – I would highly recommend to not at all – I would put A Horse Walks Into a Bar by David Grossman at; I would like you all to read this book but would not be devastated if you did not. Additionally, if anyone has any book recommendations for me to review next, email me at [email protected] or just tell me in the halls.

-Marty Dubecky ’21