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MY NAME IS ASHER LEV Hardcover – Mar 12 1972

4.6 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 369 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (March 12 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394461371
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434597253
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 15.2 x 22.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,222,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

“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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

My Name is Asher Lev-Chaim Potok became a favorite author of mine after reading My Name is Asher Lev. I've since had the pleasure of hearing Chaim Potok speak on two occasions. To hear him answer questions regarding Asher Lev and his paintings is evidence of the true craftsmanship of this author. A most amazing part of the story is the integration of Christian ideals in the Jewish character of Asher Lev and his artwork. Its a truly remarkable story.

-Jocelyn Schmidt, Ballantine National Sales Coordinator --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
My Name Is Asher Lev--A Reader's Review

My Name Is Asher Lev. My Name Is Asher Lev. Wow! What a book. If you had told me that more than a hundred and twenty-five pages into the book that I would eventually love it, I would vehemently argue to the contrary.

But, it's true. This story became intriguing. This story became enlightening. This story became exciting. I'll start from the beginning.

This is the story of the family of Rabbi Aryeh Lev, his wife Rivkah, and their only child, Asher. They live in the densely Chasidic area of Crown Heights, in Brooklyn, New York. The story takes place over a twenty-five year period from when Asher was about to start day school.

In the first third of the book, we're treated to a meditation of sorts on the existence of living in the aftermath of a post WW 2 world. Europe was almost completely destroyed. Six million Jews murdered (such acts are called "genocide" not "ethnic cleansing"--there's nothing clean, or pure or even righteous about murder/ genocide). And, the daunting task of Jewish renewal, restoration, and restitution was just beginning.

In the relative safety of a northern US metropolitan city, descendents of European Jews, more specifically (but not limited to) Chasidic Jews made frequent trips abroad to address the needs of cultural and political restoration. This was Aryeh Lev's calling. Lev, a Chasidic Rabbi, came from a long and distinguished line of Rabbis, as author, the late Chaim Potok tells us. Lev married into another distinguished family that had generations of Rabbis. It was in this union that Aryeh wished his young son, Asher would continue the tradition and "not forget his people.
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Format: Paperback
I gave this book three stars, because it was not as powerful as Potok's The Chosen. Still, in all it is a solid story that any fan of Potok will enjoy. However, If you are new to Potok, I recommend reading The Chosen before reading this novel.
This novel depicts the difficulties experienced by a Hasidic boy with a gift for painting. The story slowly develops, but builds to a marvelous crescendo. Potok does a great job of describing the alienation and difficulties of being overtaken by something that goes beyond cultural and familial influence. As in The Chosen, Potok presents us with a boy who is splintered between the spiritual basis of his upbringing and the world at large, which causes great strife between young Asher and his family. Potok, as always, does a great job of making the Hasidic Jewish culture accessible to any reader.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Chaim Potok shows profound understanding of what it is to "be" an artist. I read this book for the first time when I was in my teens, and struggling with my need to create versus the need for a reliable source of income. It was astonishing to read such a beautifully written description of what had been going on in my head since I was a small child!
Now, as I am heading into middle life, I have just reread "My Name is Asher Lev", and it is like a homecoming of sorts. I am again nodding my head and thinking "yes!". The artist inside will not rest until it is expressed. The story, and it's inspiring characters still speak to me on a very deep level, and again, I am struck by Mr.Potok's insight into the artist's mind and being.
While some aspects of orthodox Judaism - such as the reaction of Asher's father to Asher's work - are very disturbing in the book, Chaim Potok sensitively portrays Hasidism as a very meaningful and inherently beautiful way of life, and I appreciate having been enlightened even a little to what it is all about.
I could not possibly begin to explain how profound this book has been for me. I am eternally grateful to Chaim Potok for this timeless work of art.
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Format: Paperback
The book "My Name Is Asher Lev" must have done something emotional to me because this is the first book review I have written. From my perspective- A Jew and art teacher/author I would like to add that his book shows that an artist has what is called "the artist way of looking at things". The artist- by genes- was born to see the world differently even though he was born into the most religious fundamentalist of families. Who will win out in the end, genetics or family- wow!!! Another great message in this book is how even after years of persecution of the Jews by Christianity ( this book takes place in the years right after WWII) the Jews have to reconcile with Christianity and not through the baby out with the bath water. That is using art in this example- even a crucification- can have artistic value and meaning to a Jew who has suffered. Even a "nude" can have value and is part of the world even if nudity is offensive to anyone (not just Jews or Hasidic Jews). Thus this book is more popular today and meaningful to most especially when the Jewish world is now a world player again and Jews and Christians or even other faiths are cherishing what is more common between us than what is not. I think this is what Chaim Potok as a Rabbi really meant to happen through his work.
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