19. My Name is Asher Lev

By Chaim Potok

Make even greater works to make up for the pain you will cause.

This one struck my heart. It’s about the becoming of an artist who must reconcile his own nature with that of his orthodox Jewish tradition and beliefs. Asher Lev is a Hasidic Jew from Brooklyn. Told by the painter himself, his story begins when he is five and runs well into his adult life as a successful artist. But his success did not come without causing great pain to his family and community… and therefore himself. It’s all necessary, though, in order for him to become an honest/great artist.

Millions of people can draw and paint well, but how many have an eye for the essence of things, and dare to make pictures that depict the world as they truly see and feel it? How many Chagalls are there? Picassos? Matisses? Levs?

I am a bit speechless, as I just finished the book and am somewhat blown away. I can't be objective. It’s a very beautiful novel, one that might usurp something on my top ten list.

David, have you read this one?

1 comment:

dsgran said...

Wow, yeah, I read this a looonnng time ago... maybe 8th grade? I need to revisit it, I barely remember it, or any of Potok's other books for that mater. Thanks for the review though, I totally forgot about it.