Etgar Keret's stories are strangely compelling or compelling in their strangeness. The Israeli author blends Kafka's eeriness, fairy-tale wonder, and the absurdity of everyday life, with varied results. In the affecting title story, The Nimrod Flipout, three pals are alternately possessed by Nimrod, a longtime friend who committed suicide. At a séance, Nimrod spells out what he wants on a Ouija board: ''D-o-n'-t-l-e-a-v-e-m-e-a-l-o-n-e. ''The equally sharp ''Pride and Joy'' features a fourth grader who discovers that his parents shrink an inch for each one he gains. He saves them by smoking cigarettes to stunt his growth. Some of Keret's scenarios (deftly translated by Miriam Shlesinger and Sondra Silverston) are almost too surreal, like dreams waiting to be deciphered, but the best make for a truly mind-bending trip.