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My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

My Name is Asher Lev (original 1972; edition 1973)

by Chaim Potok

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3,280611,671 (4.21)161
Title:My Name is Asher Lev
Authors:Chaim Potok
Info:Fawcett Books (1973), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library, Read
Tags:#fiction, $used, $Stop & Shop, $West Hartford, $book sale, !checked, @West Hartford

Work details

My Name Is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok (1972)

  1. 00
    Peace Shall Destroy Many by Rudy Wiebe (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Young men in conflict with their culture
  2. 01
    What's Bred in the Bone by Robertson Davies (cf66)
    cf66: Entrambi romanzi sulla formazione artistica e spirituale d'un pittore.

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» See also 161 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
This was a beautiful book. I have been meaning to read this for awhile because I loved the Chosen and the Promise so much. In the end I think I prefer those two novels but I enjoyed the Asher Lev character (Asher Lev is an orthodox Jewish artist which is to understate things is uncommon). I look forward to reading The Gift of Asher Lev, but sometime later when I have time. ( )
  Jamichuk | May 22, 2017 |
Wow, just wow. I had not previously even heard of Chaim Potok as an author, but clearly I've been missing something important. This book showed up on the reading list for my classics book club, so I may never have encountered it otherwise, but it certainly one of the best "classic" novels I've ever read. Potok is able to create a rich atmospheric world on the page and has incredible empathy for all the characters in this story. Highly recommended. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Apr 21, 2017 |
I loved this novel. Upon completion, I set it aside and wondered what on earth I could read next, what could possibly follow this exquisite work? I am a distractible and restless reader; I always know how close I am to the end of a book and, regardless of how wonderful a book is, I am almost always ready to finish it and move on to whatever is next. Not this time. I was never restless reading this and I almost wept when it was done, both because it moved me so deeply and because I felt the loss of its company.

Asher Lev is a Ladover Hasid growing up in post-WWII Brooklyn with his parents and surrounded by a loving traditional community. His father travels for the Rebbe, working to assist Jews and establish Ladover Yeshivas in communities in Europe. Asher's mother is studying Russian so that she can assist her husband in his work. Asher is a bright, respectful, and loving boy whose irresistible impulse to draw at the expense of his schoolwork is counter to all that his parents value and believe. He is destined to create art and when he discovers art supplies in the store of a family friend this destiny takes on even greater power. His compulsion to create visual art rents the very fabric of his family as his parents struggle to understand what is, to them, unfathomable. His father particularly struggles, unable to resolve himself to the fact of his son's passion and identity. To the father, dedicating one's life to the creation of art is selfish and corrupt.

As Asher approaches maturity, the Rebbe intercedes and arranges for Asher to be taught by a Jewish artist who is respected and trusted despite the fact that he does not actively practice his faith. Thus begins a transformative relationship that enables Asher to flourish into himself as an artist. He travels to Florence and to Paris to study great masters and he wrestles with the omnipresence of Christian imagery in much great art. He also struggles with his compassion for the deep hurt he is causing his parents by being himself. Asher wrestles with these various challenges to his vision of the world, pulling the story toward a terrible climax that is simple, foreseeable, and inevitable.

The narrative style is deceptively simple, reading as an almost dispassionate first-person narration of life as it unfolds for Asher. This simplicity belies the richness of this novel's exploration of the artist's soul and the dreadful dilemma created when truth to oneself hurts those most loved. ( )
3 vote EBT1002 | Apr 11, 2017 |
I feel like I should rethink how easily I rate things, because 'My Name is Asher Lev' deserves a top rating far more than several other items that I've rated likewise.

There are no villains here, only a world filled with people who Asher Lev loves and have known to suffer in their own lifetimes. His religious and filial piety are called into question as he does his best to reconcile who he is and the art he is driven to create--none of which he wishes to tear him away from his Hasidic sensibilities, let alone his family.

Potok wrote a beautiful story here, where its intensity lie within the details. The final chapter of this book is progressively dizzying, and I cannot recommend this story enough. ( )
  christina.h | Sep 22, 2016 |
This is one of my favorite books of all time. Hands down - beautiful, moving. ( )
1 vote Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chaim Potokprimary authorall editionscalculated
Mendelsund, PeterCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nijgh, LennaertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Art is a lie which makes us realize the truth." -Picasso
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My name is Asher Lev, the Asher Lev, about whom you have read in newspapers and magazines, about whom you talk so much at your dinner affairs and cocktail parties, the notorious and legendary Lev of the Brooklyn Crucifixion.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449911683, Paperback)

"Memorable...A book profound in its vision of humanity, of religion, and of art."
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."

From the Paperback edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:51 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Asher Lev, born into a devout Jewish family and community, struggles to reconcile his burning need to create art with the restrictions and expectations placed on him by his faith and his people.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140036423, 0141190566

Ediciones Encuentro

An edition of this book was published by Ediciones Encuentro.

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