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Writing at the highest emotional level--and with the power to evoke our deepest responses that have made all his novels, beginning with The Chosen, the acclaimed and cherished Chaim Potok now gives us his most ambitious work of fiction, his most moving vision of the dreams and the dilemma of the moral man. At the center of the novel is Gershon Loran, a young rabbi, the product of a parochial New York Jewish upbringing--whose early life seems to have been shaped by darkly irrational circumstances. Since boyhood, Gershon has been impelled to turn away from "a strangely terrifying [outer] world" and go inward, toward a place in himself from which his first vision arises at age sixteen. It is a moment of such exquisite clarity, such awesome possibility, and such profound relief that he lives from then on in the anticipation of its return. But his waiting takes the form of passivity, and, though he is responsible and successful, he expresses no joy, no rage, no exultation, no pain. These emotions--all emotion--Gershon seems to reserve for his visions which grow more frequent, more complex, and more important to him as he is irresistibly drawn to the study of Jewish mysticism known as Kabbalah. He had been raised in the absolute belief that "the Jewish religion made a fundamental difference in the world." However, at the end of the Korean War, Gershon finds himself a chaplain in a country where Judaism has played no part, has had no reality, has never existed. In this "pagan" land, Gershon begins to see his own people and himself in a new light as the secure, enclosed life he has always led begins to dissolve into unreality and doubt. Also, Gershon is further shaken when his seminary friend Arthur Leiden, a great physicist's son, arrives in Korea. Author's own faith in Judaism had been deeply imperiled by his anguish over his father's part in the creation of the atomic bomb. Joining his friend Arthur on a pilgrimage of expiation to Japan, Gershon discovers yet another land untouched by Judaism, a land that nevertheless seems to him to be made of pure light--the light he has glimpsed before only in Kabbalah. Here, Gershon has the most disturbing and revelatory of his vision--encompassing both light and dark, both good and evil, just as life must; just as, he begins to understand, Judaism must, if it is to remain a living faith.
In New York City, two young Jewish boys meet through an accident. This is the story of their friendship.
For Davita Chandal, growing up in the New York of the 1930s and '40s is an experience of joy and sadness. Her loving parents, both fervent radicals, fill her with the fiercely bright hope of a new and better world. But as the deprivations of war and depression take a ruthless toll, Davita unexpectedly turns to the Jewish faith that her mother had long ago abandoned, finding there both a solace for her questioning inner pain and a test of her budding spirit of independence.From the Paperback edition.
From the author of The Chosen comes a work of nonfiction that chronicles the stormy lives of a Jewish father, Solomon Slepak, an infelxible old-guard Bolshevik, and his son, Volodya, who became an internationally renowned "refusenik" hero during the 18 years of his persecution for attempting to leave the Soviet Union. Potok tells their story with deep understanding and empathy.
"REMARKABLE . . . A WONDERFUL STORY."--The Boston GlobeThe father is a high-ranking Communist officer, a Jew who survived Stalin's purges. The son is a "refusenik," who risked his life and happiness to protest everything his father held dear. Now, Chaim Potok, beloved author of the award-winning novels The Chosen and My Name is Asher Lev, unfolds the gripping true story of a father, a son, and a conflict that spans Soviet history. Drawing on taped interviews and his harrowing visits to Russia, Potok traces the public and privates lives of the Slepak family: Their passions and ideologies, their struggles to reconcile their identities as Russians and as Jews, their willingness to fight--and die--for diametrically opposed political beliefs."[A] vivid account . . . [Potok] brings a novelist's passion and eye for detail to a gripping story that possesses many of the elements of fiction--except that it's all too true."--San Francisco ChronicleFrom the Trade Paperback edition.
"Rivals anything Chaim Potok has ever produced. It is a book written with passion about passion. You're not likely to read anything better this year."THE DETROIT NEWSTwenty years have passed for Asher Lev. He is a world-renowned artist living in France, still uncertain of his artistic direction. When his beloved uncle dies suddenly, Asher and his family rush back to Brooklyn--and into a world that Asher thought he had left behind forever....From the Paperback edition.
Twenty years have passed for Asher Lev. He is a world-renowned artist living in France, still uncertain of his artistic direction. When his beloved uncle dies suddenly, Asher and his family rush back to Brooklyn--and into a world that Asher thought he had left behind forever. From the Paperback edition.
"Potok writes powerfully about the suffering of innocent people caught in the cross-fire of a war they cannot begin to understand....Humanity and compassion for his characters leap from every page."SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLEAs the Chinese and the army of the North sweep south during the Korean War, an old peasant farmer and his wife flee their village across the bleak, bombed-out landscape. They soon come upon a boy in a ditch who is wounded and unconscious. Stirred by possessiveness and caring the woman refuses to leave the boy behind. The man thinks she is crazy to nurse this boy, to risk their lives for some dying stranger. Angry and bewildered, he waits for the boy to die. And when the boy does not die, the old man begins to believe that the boy possesss a magic upon which all their lives depend....From the Paperback edition.
David Lurie learns that all beginnings are hard. He must fight for his place against the bullies in his Depression-shadowed Bronx neighborhood and his own frail health. As a young man, he must start anew and define his own path of personal belief that diverges sharply with his devout father and everything he has been taught....From the Paperback edition.
Renowned violinist Isaac Stern shares both his personal and his artistic experiences -- the story of his rise to eminence, his feelings about music and the violin, his rich emotional life, his great friendships and collaborations with colleagues such as Leonard Bernstein and Pablo Casals, his background as an ardent supporter of Israel, and his ideas and beliefs about art, life, love, and the world we live in. He and writer Chaim Potok spent a year talking and sharing their perceptions, and as a result, Stern's voice comes through persuasively as the musician and humanitarian loved and admired worldwide.
"Memorable. . . A book profound in its vision of humanity, of religion, and of art. " THE WALL STREET JOURNAL Here is the original, deeply moving story of Asher Lev, the religious boy with an overwhelming need to draw, to paint, to render the world he knows and the pain he feels, on canvas for everyone to see. A loner, Asher has an extroardinary God-given gift that possesses a spirit all its own. It is this force that must learn to master without shaming his people or relinquishing any part of his deeply felt Judaism. It will not be easy for him, but he knows, too, that even if it is impossible, it must be done. . . . "A novel of finely articulated tragic power. . . Little short of a work of genius. " THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW From the Paperback edition.
Three interconnected novellas involving Jewish characters in the Holocaust, the second world war, and the present. Includes a reader's guide.
From the celebrated author ofThe ChosenandMy Name Is Asher Lev, a trilogy of related novellas about a woman whose life touches three very different men--stories that encompass some of the profoundest themes of the twentieth century. Ilana Davita Dinn is the listener to whom three men relate their lives. As a young girl, she offers English lessons to a teenage survivor of the camps. In "The Ark Builder," he shares with her the story of his friendship with a proud old builder of synagogue arks, and what happened when the German army invaded their Polish town. As a graduate student, she finds herself escorting a guest lecturer from the Soviet Union, and in "The War Doctor," her sympathy moves him to put his painful past to paper recounting his experiences as a Soviet NKVD agent who was saved by an idealistic doctor during the Russian civil war, only to encounter him again during the terrifying period of the Kremlin doctors' plot. And, finally, we meet her in "The Trope Teacher," in which a distinguished professor of military history, trying to write his memoirs, is distracted by his wife's illness and by the arrival next door of a new neighbor, the famous writer I. D. (Ilana Davita) Chandal. Poignant and profound, Chaim Potok's newest fiction is a major addition to his remarkable--and remarkably loved--body of work. From the Hardcover edition.
"A superb mirror of a place, a time, and a group of people who capture our immediate interest and hold it tightly."THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRERYoung Reuven Malter is unsure of himself and his place in life. An unconventional scholar, he struggles for recognition from his teachers. With his old friend Danny Saunders--who himself had abandoned the legacy as the chosen heir to his father's rabbinical dynasty for the uncertain life of a healer--Reuvan battles to save a sensitive boy imprisoned by his genius and rage. Painfully, triumphantly, Reuven's understanding of himself, though the boy change, as he starts to aproach the peace he has long sought....
Large, panoramic, rich with brilliant and moving detail, here is the 4000 year history of the Jews, pulsing with great events and alive with the sweep and turbulence of the centuries.
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