This Year in Jerusalem

“Two childhood friends have betrayed each other…

Myles Fletcher flees East to Israel, while Ari Shultz drives West across the United States. Kassam rockets fly in the prize-winning story The Guns in Gaza, and in Draft Dodger, a young man sneaks across the Israeli border, determined to visit his family after many years in exile. Meanwhile, in The News From Lebanon, Dr. Simon Shultz quietly awaits his mother’s death in her Florida condo. The title story, This Year in Jerusalem, brings eccentric characters together from all corners of the world for a Thanksgiving feast. Jeffrey F. Barken’s debut collection combines the intimacy of the short story form with the scope of a novel, glimpsing interconnected characters at frightening and emotional moments.”

                                                       -This Year in Jerusalem, Back Cover

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Praise & Press:


“Barken, who based the book on his own experiences living on a kibbutz in southern Israel from 2009 to 2010, incorporates characters from almost every walk of life to weave together a complex and well-written story that readers will find hard to tear themselves away from.”

-Baltimore Jewish Times

“The stories in This Year in Jerusalem by Jeffrey F. Barken relate much more than just the author’s experiences volunteering on a kibbutz…Barken’s debut collection, leaves the reader with an appetite for more. The author is currently living for a year in Haifa. Hopefully, his new experiences will make their way into literary form, whether as interconnected stories or possibly, even as a novel.”

-Times of Israel

אחד הדברים היקרים בספר, מלבד התמונה שלנו המצטיירת ממנו, הוא היכולת לספר סיפור ללא שיפוטיות. רציתי מסר מהיקום? קיבלתי אותו בגדול! יש בספר הזה כל כך הרבה יופי, צניעות, עדינות, קבלה ואהבה שלא פלא שקיבלתי אותו עכשיו. רציתי לדעת איך ניתן לקבל דברים   ללא שיפוטיות? הנה המסע שלי מתחיל

– Saloona, (Review in Hebrew)

“Each story is a video of its own, painted in colors that evoke the senses of sight, smell and touch: The brown curls of a little girl and of a beloved mother before her illness, the spice colors in the market, the whitecaps on a chilly lake, the green (and yellow) turf in the kibbutz and the mud flowing there, the taste and smell of salt, the aromas of a Thanksgiving dinner in Jerusalem! For a while, we are part of this world.”

-Beach Lloyd Press, (Amazon Review)

Diana & Jeffrey, Book Signing at the "Book Stop Cafe," Kenmare, Ireland

Diana & Jeffrey, Book Signing at the “Book Stop Cafe,” Kenmare, Ireland



More About the Book & Author

Book Tour

After graduating from the University of Baltimore’s MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing in the spring of 2013, where Jeffrey self-published his debut collection of stories, This Year in Jerusalem, the author set out for Europe and Israel on a yearlong book tour…

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Author’s Statement

“This year in Jerusalem was originally conceived as a kind of scrapbook. I wanted to challenge myself to write short stories and very short stories, and to subtly connect all the imagery and characters so that a larger scene gradually evolves…”

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