“Extraordinary . . . No one but Chaim Potok could have written this strangely sweet, compelling, and deeply felt novel.”—The Cleveland Plain Dealer
In his powerful My Name is Asher Lev, Chaim Potok gave the world an unforgettable character and a timeless story that The New York Times Book Review hailed as “little short of a work of genius.” The Chicago Sun-Times declared it “a story that had to be told.” Now, Chaim Potok’s beloved character returns to learn, to teach, to dream, in The Gift of Asher Lev.
Twenty years have passed. Asher Lev is a world-renowned artist living with his young family in France. Still, he is unsure of his artistic direction. Success has not brought ease to his heart. Then Asher’s beloved uncle dies suddenly, and Asher and his family rush back to Brooklyn—and into a world that Asher thought he had left behind forever.
It is a journey of confrontation and discovery as Asher purges his past in search of new inspiration for his art and begins to understand the true meaning of sacrifice and the painful joy in sharing the most precious gift of all.
Praise for The Gift of Asher Lev
“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 News
“Fascinating.”—The Washington Post Book World
“Very moving.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
In his first novel in five years, Potok brings back the Hasidic artist hero of My Name Is Asher Lev . Now living in France, Asher is deeply disturbed by the reviews of his latest show, which criticize his paintings as facile self-imitation. When he learns of the death of his favorite uncle, he returns to Brooklyn with his family for a funeral reunion with fellow Ladover Hasids. In America, Asher is assailed by memories and surprises: his uncle had amassed important artworks, and Asher is made responsible for the collection. He also faces a crisis in his own work, and yet another dilemma when he realizes that his son Avrumel has a chance to inherit the mantle of the Ladover rabbi if the boy remains in Brooklyn under the the sect leader's special tutelage. Asher understands that because the religious community looks upon his art as the work of the devil, his professional survival depends on his remaining geographically outside of the world in which he was raised. Potok again provides an instructive look at the power of Hasidism, building dramatic tension in the pull between the sacred and the profane. The plot is bogged down by too many details of art techniques and wooden dialogue, however, and the story often lumbers earnestly on the way to its by-no-means-foregone conclusion. 75,000 first printing; BOMC alternate.