From Shtick to Striptease An Israeli Tragi-comedy With Universal Import

David Grossman's prose in his latest work about a not-so-amusing stand-up artist strains to keep up as the comic dodges and feints - and smacks his forehead.

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"A Horse Walks into a Bar," by David Grossman, English translation by Jessica Cohen, Knopf, 208 pages, $25.95.