This is the second novel that I have read by Chaim Potok, and again, it is one of the best novels I have read in quite some time. The reader is immediately drawn into the lives of the Lev family. Potok's writing is emotional, and I felt instantly connected with the main character, Asher. The reader can easily sense his frustrations and pain. One of my favorite aspects of the novel was that the main character's life centered around art. Throughout the whole novel, I wanted him to triumph in this area. I also connected with Asher's struggle between his religion and his passion. It was truly a moving novel, and I am ready to read more of Potok's work.
This simple, straight-forward prose is reminiscent of how the average person's stream of consciousness truly flows; sometimes with no real destination, but a clear intent, beautifully navigating the pain caused by a soul divided. Torn between fulfilling one's duties to faith and family, and accepting that which defines us from within instead of how the outside world would make us, Asher Lev is an incredibly tortured character who attempts to exist in two worlds at odds. This is one of my all-time favorite novels, and a must-read for anyone who has ever had to make a choice between the traditional norm, and the yearning for something truly great.