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My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok Synopsis In this major novel--a wholly new departure for the author of The chosen and The Promise--the reader becomes a galvanized witness to the development of genius as Chaim Potok traces the making of a great contemporary painter from the time when an ordinary little Brooklyn boy responds to the first stirrings of a commanding talent to the triumphant exhibition that wins recognition for his art and marks his final heartrending estrangement from the world into which he was born The painter introduces himself Yes he is the Asher Lev whose Brooklyn Crucifixion has created a furor in the art world and a sensation in the press And immediately the reader is plunged back into the world of the boy Asher making drawings as compulsively instinctively necessarily as men breathe He draws his Brooklyn home He draws the life on his street He draws his father--the formidable man of action and commitment and almost legendary Jewish hero in the battle to rescue Jews from Soviet oppression a man who is increasingly appalled and enraged to see his only son throw away a heroic tradition for the foolishness of art He draws his fragile and luminous mother torn between the conflicting dreams of her husband and her son To become an artist Asher must wrench apart his own life and the lives of the parents he loves And in marvelous scene after scene--moving across the years from the Brooklyn of the fifties to Provincetown Paris Florence to todays New York--all is made felt with uncanny rightness Ashers interior experience his artists imagination his artists commitment his artists selfishness his encouragement by the great Rebbe who rules his parents lives but understands Asher better than they do his apprenticeship to the world-famous Jacob Kahn who becomes his teacher inspiration and channel to the great world of art his immersion in the Christian tradition of Madonna Annunciation Christ
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