Fiction, Astra House , 2021
A breathtaking debut of fourteen short stories –precise, measured and heartbreaking. This collection marks a new generation of Israeli literature.
At once compassionate, philosophical, and humorous, Jerusalem Beach is a foray into the human condition in all its contradictions. Through a series of snapshots of contemporary life in Israel, Gefen reveals a world that’s a step from the familiar.
A man’s grandfather joins an army platoon of geriatrics looking for purpose in old age. A scheming tech start-up exposes the dire consequences of ambition in trying to share human memories. An elderly couple searches for a beach that doesn’t exist. And, a boy mourns his brother’s death in an attempt to catch time like flies in his fist.
Entirely heartfelt and infused with pathos, Jerusalem Beach is an exploration of both technology and the brain. Whether ruminating on the stakes of familial love or pitching the reader headlong into the absurdity of success and failure, Gefen leaves the reader intrigued throughout.
China: Thinkingdom Media Group; Holland: Signatuur; Israel: Kinneret; Poland: Znak; USA: Astra; Korea: Munhak Saegye Sa
“Exit’ is a powerful, heartrending story without an ounce of excess fat… ‘The Meaning of Life Ltd.’ is sharp, precise and measured… but the best story in this collection, I find, is ‘Three Hours from Berlin.’ Not only the best in the book, but one of the best I’ve read in some time. Sad and funny and full of wisdom and truth.” Amos Oz
“Iddo Gefen is the voice of his generation. But he’s also a voice that’s somewhat wiser than his generation; one that observes from the sidelines, or rather, from the perspective of an eighty-year-old grandfather…. Jerusalem’s Beachis a fresh, imaginative and bold debut….” – Eshkol Nevo
“Iddo Gefen -- you'll want to remember this name… Jerusalem Beach signals the confidence and the probing talent of a mature writer, confident in his craft, who knows how to control a complicated storyline with an unexpected, enjoyable twist, while creating distinct characters that speak in many unique voices.
All the stories are saturated with clever and sharp humor, and take place in the backdrop of the distressing reality of Israel today, from the Second Lebanon War until after the social protests. They all grapple with the great ancient questions of literature, and the thousands of possibilities that human interactions bring.
He accomplishes what debut writers are not usually able to do – to aim the arrow, have it sail smoothly, until it hits the target where the reader's dreams, memories and barrage of emotions are stirred, as all great literature does.” – Arianne Melamed, Haaretz