A remarkable memoir of the legacy of the German-Jewish diaspora.
Fascinating slices of Jewish family history . . . What makes [Hirsch's] life story worth a whole book is the way he presents his own share of Jewish dislocation and exile as he strove to scramble free of the shadows cast by his parents' tragedy. The wounds inflicted on the father, brilliantly portrayed in Last Dance as a man of intense and irrational defensiveness, leave their scars on the son.
George CohenActor and writer Hirsch was born in London in 1942, the son of German Jewish refugees who had fled to England in 1938. Parts of his book first appeared in various journals, and he has presented some of the material in a series of dramatic readings in New York libraries and in a Greenwich Village cafe he owns. He offers a sweeping family history, beginning with the meeting of his parents in prewar Berlin--his mother a bohemian of sorts, his father an ardent Zionist. He tells of an aunt and uncle who left Germany in the 1930s and settled in Amsterdam but were sent to Auschwitz along with the author's paternal grandmother in 1944. His aunt and uncle survived, his grandmother was killed. He relates the somewhat amusing story of his own first marriage in a West Virginia synagogue and his father's decision to boycott the ceremony by running off to Yugoslavia. Hirsch describes many encounters with friends and family members in disparate corners of the world. He also deals with his coming-of-age in a turbulent household and his life at Oxford University. There is sadness, of course, in Hirsch's Holocaust-related narrative, but the book is filled with humor and insight; it's a delight to read.
- University Press of New England
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.14(d)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews