My Thirty-Minute Bar Mitzvah: A Memoir (Paperback)

My Thirty-Minute Bar Mitzvah: A Memoir By DENIS HIRSON Cover Image
Ships to our store in 3-8 Days


A “beautifully written, funny and deeply moving” memoir about a son’s reckoning with his father’s political idealism, set against the menacing backdrop of apartheid-era South Africa (Finuala Dowling, author of The Man Who Loved Crocodile Tamers)

A bestselling South African writer known for tackling history and memory finally makes his American debut

Witty and deeply poignant, My Thirty-Minute Bar Mitzvah is a breathtaking account of one man being confronted by his past and, ultimately, how his daughter proved to be the key in understanding his own father.

Recreating 1960s Johannesburg through his adolescent eyes, bestselling South African author Denis Hirson gradually reveals the details of his extraordinary 13th birthday as he explores the familial and political divisions in Apartheid South Africa that weighed on him and his developing consciousness of his Jewish heritage.

My Thirty-Minute Bar Mitzvah is a gem of a book about becoming a man. It’s also a valuable account of a forgotten time of white, Jewish activists, their families, their community, and most importantly, their children, who had to stumble through life in the aftermath of their commitment to racial justice.

About the Author

Denis Hirson has lived in France since 1975, yet has remained true to the title of one of his prose poems, “The long distance South African.” Most of his books, both poetry and prose, are concerned with the memory of the apartheid years in South Africa. Two of his previous titles, The House Next Door to Africa and I Remember King Kong (the Boxer) were South African bestsellers. Following the release from prison of his father, who had served a nine-year sentence for sabotage as a member of the African Resistance Movement, Denis’s family left South Africa in 1973 when he was 22. His family had been given three days to pack up their home in Johannesburg and leave by ship from Cape Town.

Praise For…

“A potent story of a diaspora coming-of-age… [A] moving, historically significant memoir.” Foreword Reviews

Product Details
ISBN: 9781805337539
ISBN-10: 180533753X
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Publication Date: April 9th, 2024
Pages: 192
Language: English