by Shulamit Falik

Divided Loyalty

How Reading Hermann Hesse Betrayed My Father

It is 1969, year of the Woodstock summer music festival, year that I celebrate my 17th birthday. Not that birthdays merit much attention in my family, where the calendar is already overpopulated with more important events — religious feasts and fast days, weddings, bar mitzvahs, and ritual circumcisions. Nonetheless, I celebrate my own coming-of-age in a year when the world is being reinvented by other 17-year-olds. Especially those lucky enough to be skinny-dipping in the lakes of New York’s Catskill Mountains, rolling in rain-soaked earth, and tripping their brains out to the rhythms of rock-and-roll.

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