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The Chosen (1967)

by Chaim Potok

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Chosen (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,231901,287 (4.15)332
The story of two fathers and two sons and the pressures on all of them to pursue the religion they share in the way that is best suited to each. And as the boys grow into young men, they discover in the other a lost spiritual brother, and a link to an unexplored world that neither had ever considered before. In effect, they exchange places, and find the peace that neither will ever retreat from again.… (more)
  1. 10
    Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: Both books explore the relationship between fathers and sons within a context of deep religious faith.
  2. 01
    Slavernes skibe by Thorkild Hansen (WorldreaderBCN)
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» See also 332 mentions

English (87)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (90)
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
I don't remember much about the book except for being deeply moved, and that it introduced me to a world completely new to me.
( )
  ByronDB | May 17, 2022 |
I seem to have inadvertently found myself on a theological reading streak. Like The Alchemist, this book was recommended to me by a friend (although more enthusiastically), and also like The Alchemist, I picked it up for reasons that ended up having nothing to do with the book. I thought The Chosen was about baseball.

It's not about baseball.

What it is about, at its core, is exactly the same thing The Alchemist is about (which almost defies coincidence): the power of silence, listening to your heart/soul, and following your own true path. But while The Alchemist uses parable, allegory and fantastic storytelling to get its message across, The Chosen tells the same message using an opposite style, set in WWII New York, and using first person-past tense POV. This is the story of two boys brought together by a softball game; one is a Hasidic Jew and one is Conservative (I think–it's never explicitly stated whether he's Conservative or Reform). Although they live only 5 blocks apart, they inhabit completely different worlds within the same religious faith, and have very different relationships with their respective fathers.

I can't do justice to this book in my review, but it works for me so much better than The Alchemist did; while I could appreciate the beauty of the writing and the story Coelho created, Potok's creation had the profound effect on me that I think the author was aiming for. The Chosen is going to be one of those that stay with me permanently.

Book themes for Hanukkah: Any book whose main character is Jewish, any story about the Jewish people ( )
1 vote murderbydeath | Jan 20, 2022 |
Many folks probably remember this book from their high school days but, somehow, it wasn't on the curriculum in my school. I suspect because of some latent anti-Semitism or overly conservative Christian mentality in the place I grew up. I'm sorry I wasn't exposed to Potok's beautiful and thoughtful book earlier. He focuses on two Jewish boys, one Orthodox and one Hasidic, in '40s New York. After meeting in a bloody baseball game (easily one of the best baseball writings I've ever read), they become friends and change each other's lives. The change doesn't flow from any privileged sense of right and wrong - which might be expected from their communities - but from earnest thought and exposure to new thinking and concepts. The way these boys change makes this book as relevant today as it was when it was written, especially in a world where folks draw so many lines around themselves to pronounce themselves superior. And if you're going to read the book, seek out thus 50th anniversary edition which has additional essays from the author and others about the book - these were as enjoyable as the book itself. Potok is one of those rare authors who can speak intelligently and directly about his writing, its goals, inspirations, and meanings. Most authors will say, "I don't know where that came from." But Potok reveals his work in a way that is very instructive. ( )
1 vote blackdogbooks | Nov 28, 2021 |
Really wish that folks using library thing to catalog would stop using "A Novel" as part of the title, more specifically as a subtitle. “A Novel” is not a subtitle but, the reading line on a book cover, which explains its contents to a potential reader and serves as a useful signpost when you're rooting through an unsorted stack of books. In theory it helps marketers sell books, by making their contents immediately known. This book has just such a miscatalogued issue. One that I will attempt to properly alter now.
  ClearShax | May 4, 2021 |
An addictive coming-of-age story. It was both an easy read and a profound, emotional one. I'd recommend it to anyone inside and outside the faith; it's quite relatable. ( )
  bobbybslax | May 17, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Potok, Chaimprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Klein, D.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
When a trout rising to a fly gets hooked on a line and finds himself unable to swim about freely, he begins with a fight which results in struggles and splashes and sometimes an escape. Often, of course, the situation is too tough for him.
In the same way the human being struggles with his environment and with the hooks that catch him. Sometimes he masters his difficulties; sometimes they are too much for him. His struggles are all that the world sees and it naturally misunderstands them. It is hard for a free fish to understand what is happening to a hooked one.

- Karl A. Menninger
True happiness
Consists not in the multitude of friends,
But in the worth and choice.

- Ben Jonson
Dedication
To Adena
First words
For the first fifteen years of our lives, Danny and I lived within five blocks of each other and neither of us knew of the other’s existence.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The story of two fathers and two sons and the pressures on all of them to pursue the religion they share in the way that is best suited to each. And as the boys grow into young men, they discover in the other a lost spiritual brother, and a link to an unexplored world that neither had ever considered before. In effect, they exchange places, and find the peace that neither will ever retreat from again.

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