My Name is Asher Lev Author:Chaim Potok am not an artist. Nor am I a gifted person in any respect. But, for a few moments, I had a notion of what it could be like to be blessed and cursed with a talent so rare, and so special. This feeling occured when I read and delved into the world of Asher Lev. — "My Name is Asher Lev" is Chaim Potok's best novel. It is complete, subtle and passion... more »ate; devastating to its core. It tells the poignant and difficult story of Asher Lev, a New York-born religious Jew who finds the gift of painting within him early on, yet is isolated from his community due to the philosophy that Judaism, modern art, and Christianity are distinctly seperate worlds.
In my favorite scene from the book, detailing the power of Potok's imagination, Asher Lev is a young boy, who looks at his mother one day and creates a rendition of her on paper. Because she is depressed at the time, and smoking, Potok has Lev use the leftover ash from her finished cigarettes as the drawing object; his mother is created in shades of gray. A story this original, this creative, and this imaginary deserves to be read.
Potok, a rabbi, has done an excellent job in detailing a Jewish community in the United States, as well as conveying the relationship it holds with the Christian majority. Besides being a good read on art, the novel offers a fascinating glimpse into the tensions that separate two religious worlds.« less