My Name Is Asher Lev
By Chaim Potok
(Anchor, Paperback, 9781400031047, 384pp.)
Publication Date: March 11, 2003
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Asher Lev is a Ladover Hasid who keeps kosher, prays three times a day and believes in the Ribbono Shel Olom, the Master of the Universe. Asher Lev is an artist who is compulsively driven to render the world he sees and feels even when it leads him to blasphemy.In this stirring and often visionary novel, Chaim Potok traces Asher’s passage between these two identities, the one consecrated to God, the other subject only to the imagination.
Asher Lev grows up in a cloistered Hasidic community in postwar Brooklyn, a world suffused by ritual and revolving around a charismatic Rebbe. But in time his gift threatens to estrange him from that world and the parents he adores. As it follows his struggle, My Name Is Asher Lev becomes a luminous portrait of the artist, by turns heartbreaking and exultant, a modern classic.
Chaim Potok was born in the Bronx in 1929. He graduated from Yeshiva University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, was ordained as a rabbi, and earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. He also served as editor of the Jewish Publication Society of America. Potok’s first novel, The Chosen, published in 1967, received the Edward Lewis Wallant Memorial Book Award and was nominated for the National Book Award. He died in 2002.
“A novel of finely articulated tragic power. . . . Little short of a work of genius.” --The New York Times Book Review
“Memorable. . . . Profound in its vision of humanity, of religion, and of art.”--The Wall Street Journal
“Such a feeling of freshness, of something brand-new. . . . Attention-holding and ultimately moving.” --The New York Times
“Engrossing and illuminating.” --Miami Herald