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This Year In Jerusalem Hardcover – September 6, 1994

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (September 6, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679436103
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679436102
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,476,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Richler's sharply observed memoir-a yeasty mix of travel, reminiscence, history and political commentary-charts his odyssey from the activist Zionism of his youth in Montreal to his current belief that Israel is "the legitimate home of two peoples" and that the Israeli Jews' displacement and dispossession of native Palestinians was not justified. The book's centerpiece, Richler's 1992 trip to Israel amid rioting in Gaza in support of a hunger strike by more than 3000 Palestinian prisoners, culminates with a visit to a Palestinian refugee camp. There he interviews a woman whose son, a stone-throwing protester, was arrested and tortured by Israelis and, after his release, shot to death by Israeli soldiers. Novelist and screenwriter Richler also visits struggling kibbutzim and traces the history of the kibbutz movement. On the 1993 peace accord, he predicts that if the Likud party returns to power soon, the Palestinians will get no more than the Gaza Strip and Jericho and can forget about statehood.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In this predominately autobiographical work, novelist Richler (Solomon Gursky Was Here, LJ 4/1/94) focuses on his youth in Montreal in the Forties and two visits to Israel. Rejecting his Orthodox Jewish upbringing, he passionately embraced Zionism in his early teens and became an active member of the Habonim. By his early adulthood his ardor had cooled, and he settled in London. He disassociated himself completely from things Jewish, relating an incident from the Fifties when he invited a friend to sample Jewish cuisine in Paris-only to find that the restaurant was closed for Yom Kippur. His first trip to the Jewish state, in 1962, was prompted by a journalism assignment. And he didn't return until 30 years later-again on a subsidized mission. There is no indication that in the intervening years he was interested in Middle East affairs. During both trips he sought out left-wing spokesmen, so his fervent espousal of the Arab Palestinian cause appears vacuous. Not recommended.
Carol R. Glatt, VA Medical Ctr., Philadelphia
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews on February 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover

This was a difficult one for me. It could be because it took me longer to read it than normal (i.e., 2 weeks) which probably resulted in me taking longer to get into the story. When I was about 1/3 in, I was resolved to give it 2.5 stars, but as I read on and got more into it, I began to really get engaged.

One thing is undeniable: Mordecai Richler is a brilliant writer. Barney, the main character of the book, is richly developed. In fact, this is what caused the struggle within myself: I absolutely detested the main character. I found him pathetic and unlikeable to the extent that I decided it was ok to not like a book simply because I couldn't stand the main character. But, as reluctant as I am to admit this: he grew on me to the extent that it wasn't about him being unlikeable, so much as I could have sympathy for the circumstances of his life.

So, at the end of the day, there are some incredibly funny moments in the book and I would recommend this book because the writing itself and the development of the main character (in narration) is outstanding. Richler really made the characters come to life.


One last note is that I have to say that the resolution that comes at the end of the book was something I felt was necessary. I don't think I could not have made a 4 star rating without that resolution.
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6 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Abbas L on November 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
As an Arab and a former Montréaler with an interest in the Middle East, I was looking forward to reading this book. Besides the joy of reading about the city's past I found interesting how Diaspora Jewish communities dealt with their place as Jews in Western societies and with Zionism since and before the establishment of Israel.

It was fascinating to see how closely-knit (or self-obsessed?) Jewish communities were. Through his childhood, Richler only seems to interact with Jews (as do other members of his community), only getting access to the real world when he leaves Montreal and his conservative community. Having been raised there, Richler had spoken better Hebrew than French.

Richler also reveals, as he discovers himself, that Zionism is not as rosy as it is perceived. Much of the Zionist 'training' Jews received is implied to be a sort of brain-washing, promoting the idea of Palestine as a 'land without people for a people without land'. The strong Zionist solidarity among children, as well as patriotism for a land they had never seen, could not have come without it.

His critical attitude towards Zionism and recognition of what he sees as the need for Jews to have a place to call home comes together to make a good read. This book is not overly political or disturbingly ideological. It's just Richler in an average person's shoes.
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