37 books finished in 2014: The Gift of Asher Lev

37 books finished in 2014

This book.

I might have to read everything written by Chaim Potok. This is my third novel, and I’ve enjoyed each one more than the last.

This picks up the story of Asher Lev, 20 years after the book that introduced him. It was great to revisit this family and their conflicts, and to see ways they’ve changed – softened, hardened, become accustomed to their differences. What impresses and intrigues me most is the way the author communicates conflict through subtext. He’s capturing the way one wrestles with God, with the ways we avoid tough questions, the ways God reaches down and speaks through unexpected means – in Asher’s case, it’s often through his mindless sketches or confusing dreams.

But mostly, I love the way this book expresses our discomfort with ambiguity. This exchange between Asher and his father is a perfect example.

Team Aryeh?

What I love most about this is that I AGREE with everything Asher’s father is saying, even though I know he’s being closed-minded, because I want the world to be simple and uncomplicated and I want all questions to be answered with yes or no. Sometimes that binary view of the world is useful, but often it restricts us from…oh man, I’m about to start talking about the next book I finished, which I’ll be posting soon, since we’re getting through the holiday backlog. (I basically avoid my computer when I’m on holiday.)

I love when the things I’m reading all converge into a big ball of life lessons. Or, maybe it’s more that I can see my current conflict in every story, because the desire for control and stability in an unpredictable world is quite universal.

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