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It has taken me a long time to piece all this together. Memories come not
like heavy rain but the drops falling from leaves after it. There were
elements missing. At last I knew I would not be whole until I found them...
June Cohen was born on Human Street in 1929. Her street ran through the
centre of Krugersdorp, a mining town near Johannesburg where June's father,
Laurie, a doctor, and his wife of Lithuanian Jewish heritage, had decided
to establish themselves thirty years on from the family's crossing to South
Africa. June was named after the month she was born in. In the wake of his
mother's death, New York Times columnist Roger Cohen embarks on a
compassionate and sensitive portrait of the journeys made by both his
maternal and paternal family, exploring the stories that have filtered
through to him since childhood. Told through personal letters and
collective memories, Cohen follows his family from Lithuania to South
Africa, England, the United States and Israel. He illuminates the uneasy
resonance of the racism his relatives witnessed living in apartheid-era
South Africa and explores the pervasive sense of 'otherness' that
originated from his Jewish heritage of persecution and from the repeated
loss that accompanied his forebears' multiple migrations. And through this,
he begins to understand better the manic depression that has permeated his
family and that plagued his mother until her last moments. A sweeping
family story spanning continents, families and great swathes of history,
Roger Cohen's deeply personal examination of Jewish identity is a tale of
displacement and remembrance, an account of suicide and resilience, a
meditation on identity and belonging, a classic for our times.

Roger Cohen—The Girl From Human Street - A Jewish Family Odyssey

  • 9781408863909
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