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My Thirty Minute Bar Mitzvah

by Denis Hirson

Jacana Media

A thirty minute Bar Mitzvah?  How is that even possible?  And therein lies the mystery of Denis Hirson’s exquisitely written memoir… Denis’s daughter’s coming-of-age encouraged him to look back on an event that happened 50 years ago, with a fresh perspective. The suspense is killing, the writing so evocative of 60’s Joburg and Denis’s reflections then and now are incredibly poignant.  Funny, moving and nostalgic… an absolute little gem of a book.

What a simply beautifully crafted book! A slim volume with an engaging cover that gives the feel of an old-fashioned read, this is a real gem of a memoir. Hirson grasps us from the first page as he recounts his rather odd ceremony but in lyrical prose giving nothing away… this is a story that will resonate with so many, not only those who lived through the turbulent South African times but globally as we all piece together the childhood that made us the adult – Beryl Eichenberger, Cape Jewish Chronicle

Denis Hirson’s memoir My Thirty-Minute Bar Mitzvah is a sensitive, poignant and beautifully written account of his thirteenth birthday, set against the menacing backdrop of 1960s Johannesburg. – Daily Maverick



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