- Publisher: Knopf Canada (1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679436103
- ISBN-13: 978-0679436102
- Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 15.2 x 22.2 cm
- Shipping Weight: 363 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,130,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
This Year in Jerusalem Hardcover – 1994
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About the Author
Mordecai Richler is the author of ten successful novels-including Barney's Version (1997), Solomon Gursky Was Here (1989), Cocksure (1968) and The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1959)-as well as numerous screenplays, essays, children's books and several works of non-fiction. His most recent book is On Snooker (July 28th, 2001). He is the recipient of dozens of literary awards, among them two Governor General's Awards, The Giller Prize and The Commonwealth Writers Prize. He was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2001, only several months before his death on July 3rd, 2001. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
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.
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.